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nestwell panel discussion at hix2021

HIX panel discussion: The next chapter of wellness in hotel design

730 565 Pauline Brettell
HIX panel discussion: The next chapter of wellness in hotel design

With quietness at its core, the nestwell installation at HIX explored the theme of responsible wellness in hotel design. The collaborative and multi-layered journey, spearheaded by nestwell, involved leading interior designers and architects from Sieger Design, Studio Carter, and Studio Corkinho, all of whom put forward concepts of slow design with wellbeing firmly on the agenda. The climax of the project was an insightful panel discussion that took place on the HIX Talks stage, moderated by Editor Hamish Kilburn. Pauline Brettell writes…

nestwell panel discussion at hix2021

Day two of HIX 2021 was again characterised by energy and innovation. One panel discussion in particular, entitled: Quietness with Attitude, went beyond convention and instead took the debate on wellness and wellbeing in hotel design to a whole new level. The session aimed to amplify the thought and passion behind the nestwell installations that were displayed at the show, and the design processes of the studios that were involved. Moderated by Hamish Kilburn, Editor, Hotel Designs, the discussion about wellness in hospitality became about a lot more than simply installing a power-shower in the ensuite.

“Wellness has been solidly on the agenda for years, and it’s significant that time and time again, at shows like HIX, we believe it’s our duty to stretch this topic and take it further than ever – be that through sensory design, immersive art and even as far as whole hotel concepts,” said Kilburn. “I know Covid-19 is a bit of a dirty word, but the pandemic was the catalyst we needed to elevate this topic beyond the spa and high-tech bathroom controls, to instead highlight the need to discuss mental health; to remove social taboos and evolve peoples’ definition of wellbeing. By unveiling, discussing and thus amplifying three separate hotel room themes, all of which share a human-centric approach to wellness and design, together it really feels like we are changing the narrative once and for all.”

designers etienne, yadev and sieger at HIX2021 panel discussion for nestwell

Image caption:  Cedric Etienne (Studio Corkhino), Hen’a Yadav (Studio Carter) and Christian Sieger (sieger design) discussing their sets on the HIX Talk stage. | Image credit: HIX

Introducing the concept to the audience was Motti Essakow in his role as Co-Founder of nestwell, and the driving force behind both the installation, and the philosophy behind it. Kicking off the discussion, Essakow went back to what was for him, a key point of inspiration, the spark that ignited nestwell, with this quote from 1972 when the country of Bhutan took the bold move to create the world’s first Gross National Happiness Index – where the wellbeing of the people and development of the country would no longer be measured based on economic indicators and instead based on happiness indicators: “Happiness and wellbeing is the concern for everyone. Whether or not you acknowledge it, this is the purpose of every human being”– Kingdom of Bhutan.

Fast forward to 2014, and WELL – the world’s first design and building standard to focus on enhancing people’s health and wellbeing through the built environment. In many ways this was the beginning of the conversation. Then came Covid-19, and like so many other conversations, lockdown, and all that came with it, made the industry look at theories of wellness with renewed interest and vigour. Inspired by how the WELL standard and Wellness Real Estate had become one of the hottest global lifestyle trends, while noticing how there was nothing similar occurring in the global – including London – hotel sector, the discussion on wellness and wellbeing was getting louder and looking for definitive answers.

It was this search for solutions that developed into nestwell, which took on the task of setting a new and pioneering industry framework for shaping and elevating ideas of wellness through design. “The solutions as presented and discussed by the panel of nestwell designers are about a multi-level approach to design, as well as about a multi-dimensional view of what we actually mean by wellness, and how that translates into a hotel room design,” explained Essakow. “Each studio developed a facet of the conversation and looked at three different types of experiential and sensorial rooms to illustrate the concept.”

The installation, which was inspired around the 12 guiding principles of nestwell, was divided into a space to Re-Charge (spa) by sieger design, an area for Tranquility by Studio Carter, and a suite to be Unplugged by Studio Corkinho.

“We want to bridge this gap and make the stay as pleasant, inspiring and relaxing as possible for business travellers.” – Christian Sieger, Owner and CEO, sieger design.

Re-Charge, designed by sieger design

Giving some background to the re-charge (spa) concept was Christian Sieger, Owner and CEO of sieger design, who spoke about the importance of the quality of the space rather than the quantity of space, the importance of being able to recharge, to be able to unplug while remaining connected. The bathroom is now the centrepiece in this concept rather than the add on, as it becomes all about harnessing the regenerative and therapeutic power of water. “I want to see the same quality I have at home in the hotel,” said Sieger. “In my experience, there were no hotel rooms that met my demands for comfort and furnishing. With the Re-Charge suite, we want to bridge this gap and make the stay as pleasant, inspiring and relaxing as possible for business travellers.”

sieger design spa hotel room

Image caption: sieger design unveiled its version of a spa hotel room at HIX. | Image credit: sieger design

“For me it was a wonderful experience to share our solution of a nestwell spa hotel room at HIX, to have a personal exchange with all those involved and interested in the vision of nestwell and to receive positive feedback directly from the audience. I am sure that, together with our and the other solutions, we made an impact to start a movement for better hotel room design. In the near future, these rooms will enhance our and the guests’ staying experience in hotels and make their stay as pleasant, inspiring and relaxing as possible.”

Tranquility, designed by Studio Carter

One of the recurring themes in this discussion was the importance of flexibility in design, (flexibility being one of the HIX buzzwords right across the event, including in the earlier panel discussion exploring the WFHotel concepts). On this platform, the conversation explored the idea of how to introduce flexibility into the hotel experience and the guestroom design. Hen’a Yadav from Studio Carter discussed this idea in some detail in relation to the Tranquillity suite. Having observed a significant change in her own post-pandemic lifestyle, and realised it was for the better, she considered how this could be integrated into design. “The boundaries between my work and my play hours were dissolving more and more,” she explained, “and though things remained fluid, an adaptive and flexible approach needed to be introduced.”

That is when the theme of “one room, many faces” was developed.

Render of organic guestroom designed by Studio Carter

Image credit: Studio Carter’s concept explored organic materials as well as fluid architecture to create an authentic sense of wellbeing. | Image credit: Studio Carter

Although as boundaries disappeared, some structure is then required, or to be more precise – a routine, a ritual. This lead Yadav to the idea of bringing this tailored and adaptive lifestyle concept to the hotel guestroom. That is when the theme of “one room, many faces” was developed. The importance of being able to design a guestroom with multiple faces, allowing the guest to configure the space according to their needs. The increased connection between work and play leads organically to the need for the guestroom to both reflect and accommodate choices and lifestyle. Yadav went on to discuss the importance of materials, and how a conscious and considered use of materials needs to be included in wellness design. All the installations were in fact characterised by both a thoughtful, and thought provoking, use of materials that considered the impact on the individual and the broader impact on the environment.

For Etienne and the Unplugged installation, it is quite simply about eliminating distraction in design.

Unplugged, designed by Studio Corkhino

Finally, discussing another key element of the nestwell concept – that of Quietitude (Quietness-With-Attitude) – in the Unplugged installation was Cedric Etienne from Studio Corkhino. The installation was inspired by the studio’s philosophy, which is all about reflecting on “the architecture of silence” and exactly what it is about a room, a building, that can bring about a sense of serenity and wellness. But how do all these very conceptual ideas about intentionality and contemplativeness actually translate into a practical experience? For Etienne and the Unplugged installation, it is quite simply about eliminating distraction in design, and using the principles of the architecture of silence to transform the guestroom experience into a sanctuary that will promote the essential concept of wellbeing. It is about being able to create a space that not only allows you to slow down, but also engages your curiosity and evokes enhanced physical, emotional and cognitive wellbeing.

A minimalist bed on the floor, with organic materials

Image caption: Studio Corkinho decided to strip back the conventional hotel experience in order to create pockets of quietness within architecture and hospitality. | Image credit: Studio Corkinho

All the panellists discussed these ideas of stillness and silence in relation to wellbeing and how a space can transform and alter a guests sense of time. As a result, this reduces the pressure of time so that the concept of ‘downtime’ becomes something more tangible. Ultimately, nestwell is about looking at practical solutions for some very philosophical concepts. It explores how to create a positive experience through innovative and flexible use of space, a conscious use of materials and a way of directing technology, whether in the form of water or light, to enhance the hospitality experience. It takes on all of these questions, and provides hotel designers with some meaningful answers along with some rather weighty food for thought.

The Quietness with Attitude panel discussion at HIX, moderated by Hotel Designs, was sponsored by Hansgrohe.

Main image credit: HIX

Melia Phuket Mai Khao-One_Bedroom_Villa_with_Private_Pool_at Night_

Meliá announces the opening of Meliá Phuket Mai Khao

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Meliá announces the opening of Meliá Phuket Mai Khao

Continuing with its rollout of the brand across Thailand, Meliá Phuket Mai Khao opened its doors this month, inviting guests to enjoy some Meliá luxury on Mai Khao’s sandy shores…

Melia Phuket Mai Khao-One_Bedroom_Villa_with_Private_Pool_at Night_

Fronting Phuket’s longest stretch of sand, and close to the beautiful Sirinat National Park, Melia Phuket Mai Khao opened last week on Phuket’s north western coastline. The striking new property features a collection of details and designs all with the aim of creating a relaxing and restorative atmosphere, from saltwater swimming pools, private villa pools and a reflection pond with sunken seating, to water gardens and irrigation misting. Shaded by a broad spectrum of native plants, the resort’s design uses a neutral palette of colours as a complement to Mai Khao’s sandy shore, creating a bright environment where high ceilings, floor-to-roof glass panels, and decorative metal screens blend harmoniously with the surroundings and take full advantage of the natural light.

“Thailand is an incredible destination which popularity has grown in the last years and we are proud to be collaborating with Phuket Villa Group to increase the visibility of its magnificent locations,” said Magdalena Martorell, General Manager of Meliá Phuket Mai Khao. “Phuket Mai Khao is one of the first resorts in the area and we look forward to welcoming our guests and make them experience an unforgettable service and build a lifetime of memories.”

The resort’s design showcases a contemporary aesthetic, while maintaining elements of traditional Thai touches. The beachfront property offers sumptuous suites and luxurious wellness-inspired pool villas for both families and couples to experience this tropical setting, while enjoying all the trademark facilities of a Meliá hotel. The modern, light-filled, and spacious mediterranean inspired suites and villas each feature outdoor bathtubs, open-air showers, and vast outdoor terraces, enabling guests to truly take in the surrounding nature. Guests are invited to relax in private cabanas or plunge pools, whilst those staying in the portfolio of ‘Wellness Villas’ can indulge in an open-air Vitamin C shower, daily massages, ultrasonic essential oil diffuser, GermGuardian air purifier, Tempur-Pedic pillows, yoga fit ball and mat, and more.

The hotel also offers a diverse culinary landscape, and guests will be able to enjoy Mediterranean and fusion cuisine at the chic Gaia Beach Club, where they will be able to sit poolside in cabanas and sun loungers whilst sipping cocktails in comfort. Elegant all-day dining restaurant Sasa specialises in Southeast Asian cuisine with Mediterranean flair, and Elyxr Café serves light meals and snacks, freshly squeezed juices and locally brewed liquors.

Wellness seekers will be able to take advantage of the resort’s signature YHI Spa, home to five luxurious treatment rooms. In addition to its extensive menu of massages, facials, body scrubs and wraps, spa therapists also provide poolside and in-villa treatments. Meliá Phuket Mai Khao’s modern fitness centre is equipped with the latest fitness machines and the kids club Kidsdom, with workshops for the young guests.

Yhi Spa decorated in natural materials and organic formsMeliaPhuketMaiKhao-

Image credit: Melia Hotels and Resorts

Meliá Hotels and Resorts has positioned itself to cater to every aspect of the guest’s wellbeing, with unique experiences which are defined by relaxation, quality time and personalised services. Along with this focus on wellbeing and high end hospitality, the groups commitment to responsible tourism has led to it earning the accolade of the most sustainable hotel company in Spain and Europe in 2020.

> Since you’re here, why not read more about Meliá Hotels and Resorts’ plans in Indonesia?

Main image credit: Meliá Hotels and Resorts

Parkside Tiles Outdoor Collection

Product watch: A total outdoor tile solution from Parkside

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: A total outdoor tile solution from Parkside

The Outdoor Collection from Parkside provides a total tile solution for commercial and residential projects…

Following the launch of its 100 per cent natural, ‘zero waste’ wall tile, Parkside has unveiled the Outdoor Collection, which helps designers, specifiers and developers to fully realise the potential of outside space.

Parkside Tiles Outdoor Collection

Whether a natural extension of internal bar and restaurant areas, or a seamless flow from indoor to outdoor living in housing, the Outdoor Collection provides porcelain tiles and supporting ancillaries designed to cope with the rigours of all-round external use.

The collection features porcelain tiles that are ideally suited to outdoor use. Not only more durable than their ceramic counterparts, porcelain tiles are also UV and weather resistant. Delivering stability in sub-zero and high temperatures, they are the only tile option for prolonged external use on terraces, balconies and outside living spaces.

Stocked in the UK for fast delivery, Vista is a versatile UV-resistant porcelain tile available in a range of sizes, effects and specifications all made to cope with outdoor use. Available in Vista20 (20mm) or Vista40 (40mm) thickness, these vitrified porcelain floor slabs provide a PTV 36+ surface that can be used for outdoor spaces in commercial and residential settings. Selected designs are available in 10mm thickness to create a link between indoors and outdoors.

In stone, wood, concrete, marble, terrazzo and slate effects, Vista can work to transform outside space. Whether a traditional stone effect or the modern look of terrazzo, Vista provides a finish that is hard-wearing frost, mould and stain resistant.

Dawson is a modern concrete effect UV-resistant porcelain tile, available in five sizes to suit a range of outdoor floor requirements, including formats up to 1200mm x 2400mm that are ideal for large commercial premises. In Smoke and Tarmac colour options, Dawson features a minimum 20 per cent recycled content.

The outdoor-ready tile features a textured finish for 36+ PTV for assured performance in residential and commercial environments. Hard-wearing, frost, stain and mould resistant, Dawson is also available in 10mm specification to create a floor that flows indoors to outdoors – perfect for natural extension of living space in homes. In commercial projects, Dawson can be used to extend design principles to outdoor front of house.

The Outdoor Collection includes a full range of supporting ancillaries. A range of steel pedestals ensure installations can conform to regulations for external wall systems and balconies above 18m. Available in flat head adjustable height and slope corrector adjustable height types, they facilitate quick and easy installation providing excellent support and are lockable to prevent movement from vibration or shocks. Plastic pedestals are also available.

Alongside, specialist adhesives, corrosion-resistant lightweight aluminium profiles and Easy Joint brush-in grout in a range of colours, the Outdoor Collection provides projects with a tile system that provides an attractive and durable finish capable of maintaining appearance throughout years of external use.

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

palm trees and swimming pool at quinta do largo

Diving into the spirit of the Algarve at Quinta do Lago

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Diving into the spirit of the Algarve at Quinta do Lago

It’s all about the weather and wellness – sustainability and sunshine – in this corner of Portugal. Pauline Brettell checks in to The Magnolia Hotel to explore all that is on offer at the Quinta do Lago resort, where the natural beauty of the Ria Formosa Park combines seamlessly with contemporary design…

palm trees and swimming pool at quinta do largo

The Ria Formosa Natural Park in Portugal forms part of the protected coastal lagoon, which provides the context and backdrop to the Quinta do Lago, resort, and has been key to informing its commitment to sustainability and the environment, on all levels, throughout the resort – from critically assessing its landscaping and golf course management, to developing a culture of farm-to-table that has permeated all of the resort restaurants. The resort makes it clear that luxury can be sustained by sourcing locally, and integrating the local landscape rather than superimposing a resort onto it, and this is key to the ethos of luxury behind Quinta do Largo.

In the heart of the resort is The Magnolia Hotel – a stylish, family friendly boutique hotel designed by London-based Bryan O’Sullivan Studio, and modelled on the iconic motel designs reminiscent of Palm Springs. Driving through the entrance punctuated by the retro swimmer diving through the air, lit up in equally retro neon, the mood is set.

“The pool at its centre looks like it has been lifted straight out of one of David Hockney’s Pool series of paintings.”

There are bright sorbet colours as guests walk in nods to Hockney on the walls, and an abundance of palm trees that all contribute to the feeling of laid-back motel living with a note of luxury. The pool at its centre looks like it has been lifted straight out of one of David Hockney’s Pool series of paintings with its tiled reflections of the surrounding palm trees, and forms the focal point of the hotel, inviting you to dive straight into your holiday. Quality and comfort are the backbone to the vibrant and relaxed décor of this design, which is made up of a combination of 74 comfortable guestrooms, and a further seven vintage style cabins. The focus throughout is on laid back comfort, teamed with quality, along with a focus on wellness that runs throughout the resort. This wellness focus has been integrated on every level of design, from the bicycles at your disposal, to the Sleep Hub in your bedroom – I must confess to getting a little addicted to the sounds of waves crashing on my bedside table!

While The Magnolia Hotel is all about creating a relaxed family zone, the Reserva is a low-rise, cutting edge development made up of 26 luxury apartments. Designed by Portuguese architect João Cabrita, each unit has its own swimming pool, with panoramic sea views framed in a modernist composition of glass and natural stone. The Reserva complex remains true to the original plan of the resort with its low density design that is ecologically driven by its location on the edge of such striking natural scenery.

With wellness being the cornerstone to the entire resort, its state-of-the-art, multi-sports complex, The Campus, is an integral part of the experience, on both a design and a facilities level. The Campus is not simply about getting a bit of exercise in on your holiday, it is also about the lifestyle attached to that. The facilities are geared towards professionalism and performance, and are perfect for everyone, from high energy kids on holiday, right through to professional athletes needing to train in recovery, and pretty much everything in-between. For me, it was simply about a wonderful outdoor yoga session in the late summer sunshine, followed by a few laps in the comfortably heated pool.

state of the art sports centre

Image credit: Quinta do Lago

You can’t, of course, escape the golf course culture as you head down to the Algarve, as it is key to the hotel industry there. Importantly, Quinta do Lago has spent time looking critically at how their state of the art courses are impacting on the local landscape, and where possible, making improvements to minimise their impact. I am no golfer, so it was all about admiring the landscaping and negotiating the buggy for me, but if I was tempted to pick up a club or two, this would be the place to do it! The credentials and awards speak for themselves, as the South course on Quinta features regularly in Top 100 golf courses of Europe lists, and has also been awarded best golf course in Portugal on more than one occasion!

One thing is certain (and this is a subject I feel a little more qualified to offer an opinion on than golf), guests won’t be going hungry during their stay here! The resort is home to a wealth – 13 in total if I am sticking to the facts – of restaurants. Each one a signature aesthetic and ambience, created by different design teams appropriate to the concept. Again, design is considered in every nook, from craft-led crockery to locally sourced finishes.

japanese restaurant with jellyfish sculpture

Image credit: Laura Caroco

No where is the resort’s ethos of sustainability clearer than in the F&B experiences, as it is clear that all the chefs and their teams are passionate about sourcing and using local produce. On your way to your morning tee off you go right past the Quinta farm where chefs and gardeners collaborate to grow and develop fresh seasonal produce for all the restaurants.

We ended our stay at Quinta do Lago with an intricately crafted tasting menu at the Michelin-recommended Casa Velha. The attention to detail and the passion that head chef Alipio Branco puts into both the produce and the presentation, epitomises the ethos of the resort. The menu is inspired by the surrounding Ria Formosa as are the plates and bowls on which they are served, all sourced from local artisans and craft people, who, like all the designers and architects of this resort, take their inspiration from the dunes and the waterways of the estuary.

wooden boardwalk crossing natural lagoon at Quinto do Lago beach

Image credit: Quinto do Lago

“Sometimes when you look at a property you have an instant view of what you are going to do,” explains Andre Jordan, the man behind the idea that was to become Quinta do Lago, “I had to drive along trails and through pine woods until I came to a high point overlooking it, with the ocean on the horizon. Within 10 minutes I had the concept for the whole project in my mind. I wanted to create a high quality resort that reflected local character and style.” It is this idea of remaining a part of, while safeguarding, the local landscape that does in fact set Quinta do Lago apart. With the Ria Formosa running through it, and the strong sense of community as its foundation, Quinta do Lago has established itself as a leader in the world of low impact, luxury real estate, incorporating considered design at every turn.

Main image credit: Quinta do Lago

Aeon: A wellness hotel setting new standards in architecture & design

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Aeon: A wellness hotel setting new standards in architecture & design

Aeon is the latest wellness hotel concept that has been brought to life by the team at  noa* network of architecture. The 15-key hospitality development, which features a bold interior design scheme, is set into and inspired by the landscape of Italy’s South Tyrol region. Pauline Brettell explores… 

Designing the Aeon hotel, which shelters an innovative wellness concept that plays on striking architecture and thoughtful design, was all about connection and context for the architects and designers at noa* network of architecture. It was also about shifting and blurring lines, looking at the boundaries between inside and out – the visible and the invisible – between dream and reality. The studio’s use of colour in the interiors does exactly this; it creates divisions, yet blurs the lines. There is the feeling of standing firmly on the ground, while at the same time being able to touch the clouds.

The new wellness hotel, which completed in July 2021, is nestled between meadows and woodland and is defined by its panoramic views across the Italian countryside. The original build on a historic farm, comprised of an old inn, residential house, and traditional barn, has all been reimagined to become part of the next chapter of its history – and one in which the architecture and design studio has created the new framework that is the signature of Aeon.

“It would have been easy to simply go wild and focus on the famous ‘green meadow’. But we chose a different path.” – Christian Rottensteiner, architect, noa*.

From the very beginning, the 550-year-old farm was a source of inspiration for the development process of the project, with special consideration given to the views and vistas of the site. A gentle nod was made to its past through the layout of the building units and the details, with the new buildings being consciously modelled on the existing structure. “The creation of an ambivalent tension between the centuries-old tradition of the rural complex and an exclusively modern statement was the basic principle underlying the design process,” explains Christian Rottensteiner, architect at noa*. “It would have been easy to simply go wild and focus on the famous ‘green meadow’. But we chose a different path: the design consists of freestanding structures that allow the landscape to flow through and become part of it. The result is two buildings, one hosting the public area with a reception, bistro, bar, and wellness area, while the other includes private areas with a total of 15 guest suites.”

At first glance, the buildings appear singular yet together they form a permeable courtyard context. However, there is an ingenious connection in the form of a hallway that elegantly vanishes under an artificially created hill, disappearing out of sight.

The two buildings that form the wellness hotel also relate directly with the existing structures in their design language. The use of traditional gable roofs, for example, as well as a very dynamic façade design with reinforcing slanted elements, replicate the design of the struts and brackets of the historically listed barn while translating them into a modern statement. This allows the facades to be perceived differently – depending on how one approaches the project. On one side, the east and west façades break strongly towards the outside, while in contrast, the north and south sides appear as a homogeneous envelope. The trapezoid windows are designed to catch the eye in a striking way, while the upper, slatted structure that stretches over the entire length of the building almost disguises the stories and create a homogeneous appearance.

“Verticality and linearity are the leitmotivs of two strongly contrasting design approaches – at times creating the feeling of floating between worlds,” Rottensteiner adds. “This project is all about the details and stories, which are all about the family and the place where the project is rooted. For example, wood from the farm’s own woods was used. Also, the use of this renewable raw material gives the architecture a vitality through the projections and recesses that create exciting shadows.”


Guests enter the building through an entrance portal made of black steel, which bears the family’s old coat of arms from 1464 on the outside. “The ‘slope’ is traditionally an element for load transfer and static reinforcement – here it was used to make the volume more dynamic and to make it merge with the landscape,” adds Rottensteiner.

Stepping through the steel front door, into the lobby, guests can grasp the full sense of the design narrative, which is to blur lines and creating subtle divisions, suitable for modern travellers. Here, guests move away from the hard architectural details and instead enter a world of softer interiors. The clever palette of calm tones as well as tactile textures introduce feelings of being grounded and connected with nature. Soft beige meets a mystical blue. Meanwhile, this expressive, clear-cut division is consistently drawn through the buildings, both horizontally and vertically.

contemporary hotel bar design

Image credit: AlexFilz . Noa architects

“The past has grown like stone, wood and nature,” explains interior designer Patrick Gürtler. “The future, on the other hand, is veiled, mysterious and artificial; it is intangible like the sky, the night, or the ocean. In between is the moment, a sharp, unconditional break, but also a point of contact.” A line – not to separate, but to connect.

In the public building, the sharp-edged transition between beige and blue takes place at eye level, to make the concept of an “in-between zone” tangible. But the design concept is not only focussed on the floors, walls, and ceilings. All elements – from the curtains, through the furniture and the light fixtures – are part of a holistic approach to the design.

contemporary blue and white design scheme in wellness hotel

Image caption: AlexFilz/Noa* architecture

The wellness area is located on the first floor. It has been designed so that guests ‘dive’ through the horizontal blue and find themselves, subconsciously, in the opposite colour concept. The consumer journey then invites guests to move through the different zones, opening into a wide relaxation space and adjoining terrace.

The half-covered outdoor infinity pool juts out from the southwest side of the building, affording spectacular views. It can be reached via a platform, the top level of which marks the “water’s edge,” once again playing on the use of colour and the divisions between blue and beige.

A half-covered infinity pool that is attached to a contemporary wellness hotel in Italy

Image credit: Alex Filz/Noa architecture

Just a few more steps up, guests enter a separate relaxation area that can be used as a meditation room, for yoga or simply to relax. In front of this, in the outdoor area, is a whirlpool on a roof terrace with an incredible view of the Dolomites.

In the adjacent building, which is connected via an underground corridor, is where the 15 suites are housed – and here, too, the division of the colour worlds takes a 90-degree turn: what was horizontal is now vertical. There is a deliberate psychological effect at play here, because from here on, guests can immerse their whole body in the respective area, which has an overall relaxing effect.

The three types of rooms differ in size as well as furnishings. The bed in each suite has been given its unique position in order to utilise the expansive view. Another highlight in the truest sense of the word is the Gallery Suite, where an internal staircase leads up to a living platform on the roof, where you can watch the sky through the opening in the roof.

Ultimately the design of this hotel, with its deliberately thought through interior detail, is all about taking the guests on a journey, and using design to facilitate this as they experience spatial changes, contrasting textures and a conscious use of colour to emphasise the architecture and direct their experience which has wellness and nature at its core.

Main image credit: Alex Filz/Noa architecture

Lanserhof in Sylt bathroom and suite

Lanserhof to open first island hotel in Spring 2022

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lanserhof to open first island hotel in Spring 2022

Lanserhof, Europe’s leader in innovative health, has announced that it will open its first island hotel in 2022. Located in Sylt, the 55-key luxury hotel will be designed by internationally renowned architect Christoph Ingenhoven, and will shelter a cutting-edge wellness experience under a contemporary roof. Here’s what we know…

Lanserhof in Sylt bathroom and suite

Arriving in 2022 in Sylt – AKA the ‘Hamptons of Germany’ – Lanserhof, a leading brand in innovative health, has unveiled that its debut island hotel will feature just 55 rooms and shelter design by internationally renowned architect Christoph Ingenhoven.

Sylt, an island in the Frisian archipelago in northern Germany, has long been treasured for its famous healing climate and restorative sea air, which can provide significant relief for allergy and respiratory disease sufferers. Reachable by air via Düsseldorf year-round, with just 15,000 inhabitants, the island offers 40 kilometres of fine sandy beach and three shifting sand dunes, the only ones left in all of Germany. Set on UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Wadden Sea, Sylt is home to some of the continent’s most astonishing wildlife and flora and fauna; whale watching is possible during the summer months while harbour porpoises can be spotted off the coast year-round.

Render of shoreline at Lanserhof Sylt

Image credit: Ingenhoven Architects

Lanserhof Sylt, a €120 million project more than five years in the making, will offer the brand’s signature approach, which combines cutting-edge diagnostics with natural healing methods, overseen by Medical Director and Cardiologist Dr. Jan Stritzke, a specialist in cardiological rehabilitation for acute and chronic illnesses. “At Lanserhof Sylt, the magic of a new beginning can not only be felt but experienced,” explained Dr. Stritzke. “Surrounded by the unique and ever-present nature of Sylt, the new health resort awaits guests in a place where modern, flowing and natural architecture radiates tranquillity and at the same time combines modern cutting-edge medicine with the help of state-of-the-art equipment and alternative naturopathy. The natural and traditional combined with the new and modern are thus reflected in both the architecture of the resort and at the same time in the medical concept. This is something very unique. For this new Lanserh of experience we have built a great team of physicians, therapists, sports and nutrition scientists and beauticians. I can’t wait to introduce it to our guests.”

Wellness pool inside Lanserhof Sylt

Image credit: Ingenhoven Architects

Housing 55 rooms and suites beneath Europe’s largest thatched roof, the resort will have a combined guest area of more than 20,000m2. In addition to the main building, the resort will feature two interconnected saltwater indoor and outdoor pools complete with counter-current system and a five-story freestanding spiral staircase centrepiece. A continuous glass facade, the largest on Sylt, will give the impression that the thatched roof floats above, giving the property a weightless character that blends seamlessly into the rolling dunes and landscape beyond.

Render of luxury bedroom inside Lanserhof Sylt

Image credit: Ingenhoven Architects

The guestrooms range upwards in size from 39m2 double rooms and all feature their very own private balcony cut into the thatched roof of the building. These balconies are the first of their kind, creating an abundance of light within the room while providing a tranquil spot for guests to enjoy the healing sea air amidst panoramic views of the sea and sand dunes ahead. Selected rooms will feature beds with innovative FreshBed technology to ensure the perfect night’s sleep, in addition to a unique, human-centric lighting concept to keep guests in harmony with the natural biorhythm.

The hotel has been constructed using entirely sustainable, non-emitting materials. The design finds inspiration from the surrounding area and climate, as well as in the construction of Frisian houses, which typically feature low storeys, glass, wood and thatch. Natural, curved shapes mirror the island’s sand dunes, while a pared-back aesthetic featuring wood, earthen tones and organic materials allows the magnificent setting to take centre-stage.

The timeless, unique nature of Sylt in combination with the new, modern Lanserh of property with its flowing, corner-less architecture has a health-promoting effect on body, mind and soul, just like the traditional naturopathy and state-of-the-art cutting-edge medicine contained in the Lanserhof Concept.

Main image credit: Ingenhoven Architects

Harrods new Hair & Beauty Salon (1)

Case study: Creating club-like wellness experience inside Harrods

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: Creating club-like wellness experience inside Harrods

Beverley Bayes, Creative Director at Sparcstudio speaks to Hotel Designs about the new luxury design concept inside Harrods’ ‘completely remangined, modernised and elevated’  luxury spa offering…

Harrods new Hair & Beauty Salon (1)

Sparcstudio is known and respected for creating spectacular spa and wellness experiences that are unlike any other. From Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House to The Spa at South Lodge, the team’s effortless ability to create a tranquil setting while challenging conventional approaches to wellness design has set new standards on the hospitality scene globally. Therefore, for those who have experienced these spaces, it was only a matter of time before the studio landed its next major project.

London’s famous department store Harrods, which was founded more than 170 years ago, recently decided to revamp its look and feel – and part of the grand plans was to completely reimagine the brand’s spa offering. The launch of the Hair & Beauty Salon marked the final phase of the brand’s beauty business transformation, led by Director of Beauty Annalise Fard, to become one of the world’s largest beauty destinations. “We worked collaboratively with award winning creative design studio, Sparcstudio on the beautiful redesign of our new Hair and Beauty Salon at Harrods,” Fard commented. “Sparcstudio is renowned for producing incredible five-star spa and wellness facilities and we felt they would be the perfect fit for this momentous project.”

The new game-changing 16,985 sq. ft. Hair & Beauty Salon space offers customers a refined beauty and wellness experience, an element that has long been a part of the iconic store’s DNA, with Harrods’ first ‘Hairdressing and Manicure Department’ having opened in 1894.

For the redesign of the newly reimagined Harrods Hair & Beauty Salon, the designers wanted to instil a unique ‘sense of place’ with design details that create a ‘club-like’ feel that were uniquely ‘Harrods’.

Drawing inspiration from archive photos of previous incarnations of the beauty treatment areas in the store, the hairdressing area also includes a hair extension library, luxury backwash area with a conditioning bar, as well as a more private ‘Salon Privee’  with five hair-stations and its own backwash area.

The extensive treatment zone has 12 rooms with its own oval deco inspired waiting lounge, plus an ‘Eye Zone’ suite for brow and lash services. All zones are supported by a large reception/check-in zone, cloakroom and customer washrooms.

Harrods new Hair & Beauty Salon - Hairdressing Rotunda

Image credit: Julian Broad

Space-planning with an organic flow

A key element of the scheme’s success is the flow of the overall space-planning. “We created an organic flowing feel to the circulation designed to enable customers passing through to have glimpses into the various zones whilst retaining privacy for treatment spaces,” Bayes told Hotel Designs. “Deco-style ‘portals’ herald the entrances with a sweeping walkway, leading through to the curved check in and reception zone.”

Customers entering from the Technology department pass through a ‘Galleried Walkway’  formed from a series of illuminated arches with full height digital flat screens displaying curated salon imagery and promotions. There are views through to the ‘half-moon’ shaped Eye zone reception with six luxurious lash and brow pods fanning out from the greeting desk at the centre. The ‘Salon Privee’ is accessed via a private corridor off this space, with its own circular waiting area, hair stations and luxury of the backwash zone.

The Salon’s dedicated hairstyling space, the Hairdressing Rotunda, features new stations that are spaced out in a curved central seating area, inspired by the salon’s original 1982 design. Paying homage to the Salon’s heritage and bringing back a sense of sophistication and iconic glamour was a key focus, whilst also offering privacy for guests and their stylists to chat away freely, we wanted to create a Sense of ‘Theatre’ for customers and hairdressers alike.

The perimeter windows were opened to provide natural light and installed with bespoke leather window seats providing mid-treatment break out spaces for customers with views from the 5th floor location over Brompton Road & Hans Crescent below, providing a connection to the Knightsbridge creating a true ‘Sense of place.’

Inspired by traditional Japanese head spa rituals, which the Harrods beauty team discovered in Tokyo, the unique room offers guests a rejuvenating ‘facial for the scalp.’ Guests are encouraged to lie back on Yume fully extending backwash beds, relax and enjoy a soothing head massage. The space has calming music and soft, ambient lighting (concealed within faceted panels which wrap around the walls and ceiling).

Members’ club meets spa

In order to create a real sense of luxury, and a ‘club-like’ feel, great attention was paid to the detailing of all customer ‘touchpoints’, from the panelled cloakroom lined with archive prints of Harrods hair and beauty areas of the past, to the oval shaped deco panel lined treatment  and eye zone waiting areas. These incorporate bespoke rugs inspired by vintage ’30’s designs and curved leather banquette sofas with roll back rests inspired by 1920’s international style furniture. Bespoke light-fittings formed in Alabaster, glass and brass add further to the club-like ambience.

12 treatment rooms, including body, facial, waxing and dedicated laser rooms are accessed from an oval shaped corridor, lined with fluted plaster and illuminated brass lined door surrounds. A number of treatment rooms are curve ended and all have built-in guest seating and wardrobe, bespoke Alabaster wall light fittings, fluted cabinetry and chalk ash wall panelling offset with warm copper mirror.

Sparcstudio 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: Julian Broad

Image of klink weights on table

How fitness brand Klink is taking on the hospitality industry

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How fitness brand Klink is taking on the hospitality industry

With fitness, wellness and wellbeing all high up on the agenda for modern travellers, a major challenge for interior designers and brands is working out how to cater to these demands while also utilising space. Cue the arrival of Klink, a new modular fitness solution designed for the future hospitality arena. Editor Hamish Kilburn meets Nikita McCoy, the brand’s Founder, to find out more…

Image of klink weights on table

If ever there was time for people from outside the conventional parameters of the industry to emerge with new, revolutionary ideas and concepts, it is now. Post-pandemic, the industry has re-opened with a new perspective, in search for purposeful solutions to ensure brands remain at the front of the curve of new trends and behaviours around how people travel and use hotel space.

Image of detachable weight on table

Image credit: Klink

Although, we are learning (and narrating) as we go, we do know that guests checking in to hotels have spent more than 18 months locked in to the confides of their own homes – working, living and exercising within their own space – which has no doubt changed guests’ behaviour on a generic level.

So, with change whistling through the crisp Autumn, I met up with with Nikita McCoy, an NHS nurse who had the revolutionary idea to launch Klink, a new brand that is setting a new standard across the fitness scene by offering something entirely different for the premium hospitality industry.

“I felt there was a need for more compact, stylish equipment.” – Nikita McCoy, Founder, Klink.

Stacked Klink weights

Image credit: Klink

Hamish Kilburn: So, Nikita, tell us more about how Klink was born…

Nikita McCoy: Klink was born over the first lockdown; right at the beginning on the Covid-19 Pandemic. While hiring equipment from our local gym, I felt there was a need for more compact, stylish equipment. I wanted to have something simple to use, good quality while also practical. Being an engineer, my husband soon started to work on this after I brought the idea to his attention. His [engineering] flare enabled us to bring this hazy vision to life very quickly. Working on our design was a positive distraction to the reality of Covid-19 during lockdown, especially as I was working as a nurse at this time.

HK: Are the days of small, compact hotel gyms (that are constantly congested) over for the bleisure (business/leisure) traveller?

NM: Gyms will always have their place, as they are a positive space to be in. For us, it is about aiding an effective workout with high quality equipment in an environment that is suitable for the user. I believe that Klink would be a great addition for any premium wellness space, especially in a hotel suite or guestroom where a people can have easy access to their own equipment to use within their own time. In-room equipment is something more hoteliers are investing in. Exercise equipment should be as much of an essential as a mini bar!

HK: Tell us more about the technology behind Klink – how do the mechanisms work?

NM: Klink is patent pending and our modular system sets us apart from the rest. We have unique locking technology that isn’t only effective but also easy to use. The simplicity of our mechanisms is in keeping with our brand. Twist it, click it, lift it!

“All our components are manufactured and sourced from UK businesses, and this is something we are extremely proud of.” – Nikita McCoy, Founder, Klink.

HK: Why was it so important for the brand to keep all aspects of design and manufacturing local?

NM: After recently starting our own engineering business in 2018, we fully understand the importance of local manufacturing. All our components are manufactured and sourced from UK businesses, and this is something we are extremely proud of. It’s more important now than ever to support and grow our own economy. I also like building working relationships with other UK-based manufacturers and suppliers and seeing what we can do together to achieve business goals.

HK: In your opinion, what is driving the demand for wellness and wellbeing in the luxury hotel market?

NM: The pandemic has changed so many aspects of our world. Health is very much at the forefront physically and mentally. Individuals seek out exercise more so now than ever. The hotel environment is a great way to relax, recharge and wind down but that doesn’t mean exercise has no place. Hoteliers are engaging in this shift change and aiming to provide their guests with in-room personal workout spaces. A lot of individuals enjoy exercise as a way to start and boost their day. This should not be compromised and accessed easily. No hotel would want bulky fitness equipment cluttering rooms. Therefore, it’s essential that it flows with the theme of the space – the design of the products need to be sleek and functional. Klink ticks all these boxes.

“We are proud to have the only marine-grade quick-release, adjustable equipment on the market at this time.” – Nikita McCoy, Founder, Klink.

HK: Why are Klink products ideal for both the luxury hotel market and the marine industry?

NM: Klink products have their place in many different settings. Ideal for the home where space is a premium and the customer would like a large variation of weights without a rack of dumbbells. In the luxury hotel market we can provide what we enjoy the most and bespoke our equipment to brand and utilise our custom storage solutions. Klink is functional and aesthetically pleasing and can fit into any luxury interior design theme.

Regarding the marine industry, we can bespoke manufacture all of our Klink range in 316 stainless steel also known as marine grade steel. In doing so, we offer extra corrosion protection against the elements. We are proud to have the only marine-grade quick-release, adjustable equipment on the market at this time. We are a perfect fitness addition to the yacht world. Add some of quirky colourful storage cases to secure your equipment and you have an ideal space saving solution.

HK: What’s next for Klink?

NM: As a new company, we are focusing on brand awareness and guiding our product into the areas it belongs. We have some exciting collaborations to come and look forward to showcasing how versatile and fantastic our product is. There’s much more of Klink to come in the days ahead, so watch this space!

Klink 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: Klink

Hotel designs LIVE senses

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: A design assault on the senses

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: A design assault on the senses

Watch, on-demand, our exclusive panel discussion that was broadcasted recently on the Hotel Designs LIVE platform. To launch the virtual event, which took place on August 10 at the Minotti London showroom, editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed world-renowned designers and hospitality experts to explore sensory design in hospitality (scroll down for full video)…

Hotel designs LIVE senses

On August 10, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers from around the globe tuned in to watch the latest edition of Hotel Designs LIVE. The event, which first launched in June 2020 to keep the industry connected while keeping the conversation flowing, took place virtually – broadcasted at Minotti London’s Fitzrovia showroom, and included four engaging panel discussions with world-renowned hospitality and design experts on the following topics:

  • A design assault on the senses
  • Designing the perfect nights’ sleep
  • Design, beneath the surface
  • Social spaces in 2021 & beyond

During the editor’s welcome, editor Hamish Kilburn was joined with Anke Summerhill, Managing Director of Minotti London which was the event’s headline sponsor. The pair discussed what’s new in the Minotti 2021 Collection as well as exploring how recent cultural shifts will impact the social nature of hospitality while the panel for the first session of the day were preparing to go live in the virtual wings.

The first session of the day, sponsored by bathroom brand GROHE, was inspired by a previous session that was broadcasted on the Hotel Designs LIVE platform, which looked at sound in design. Taking what he learned during that hour-long conversation with designers and architects, Kilburn was keen widen his perspective to discuss all of the senses in hotel design and hospitality. “Following that insightful session 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,” Kilburn said when introducing the subject. “It also comes as the industry, albeit slowly, is starting to reopen and reconnect.”

On the panel:

  • Damian Saint, Music Director – W Hotels Asia Pacific
  • Robbie Bargh, Founder, Gorgeous Group
  • Diana Espejo, Director of Technical Services (EMEA), Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
  • Justin Wells, CEO, Wells International

The conversation began with Kilburn asking the panel why only now we as an industry were starting to look at the benefits of sensory design in hospitality experiences. “I might challenge that, becasue I think in design, we have always been striving to extend the positive outcome for the end user,” explained Justin Wells, CEO, Wells International. “Take the retail sector, for example, which has been exploring sensory design for many years. Currently, today, there is a heightened awareness around reconnecting and with a higher demand for wellness and wellbeing it has perhaps amplified our appetite for understanding technology. As a designer and architect, I have always researched how we can create a better, more holistic approach – and sensory design is most certainly a way to achieve this.”

To understand how a brand like Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas was utilising the technology around sensory design – and how the brand plans to inject their luxury wellness and wellbeing hospitality experience in an urban environment, Diana Espeja, Director of Technical Services (EMEA) for the brand explained: “The Six Senses brand is growing and the challenge was face is how we translate our core values into different environments. The beauty of this is that our pillars of wellness and sustainability are really universally applicable – so we are constantly challenging our consultants to think outside the box on how we can achieve this. We do use the sensory experience not only in our design, but we also like to create really unique moments for guests who are checking in. In Ibiza, for example, the energy was amazing – and we really wanted to inject this into the design and the hospitality. We are constantly evolving and there is not a formula that works across all of these destinations – you have to research the area.”

Moving the conversation on, Kilburn then engaged with Robbie Bargh, a F&B experience consultant and the founder of Gorgeous Group, to better understand how sensory design can be utilised effectively in F&B spaces. “Telling stories is a fully immersive experience and to do this you have to use all of the senses,” he said. “Everyone gets obsessed by the way something looks, but actually when you get into it, the sound, smell and touch are all equally important to consider. And now, this is even more important.”

Here’s the full video of the panel discussion (on demand), produced by CUBE, which includes Product Watch pitches from GROHE, Benholm Group, Utopia Projects and Franklite.

The full recordings of the other three sessions (‘Designing the perfect nights’ sleep; Design, beneath the surface and Social spaces in 2021 & beyond) will be available to watch on-demand shortly.

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A reminder of the sponsors

Headline Sponsor: Minotti London

Pool at Four Seasons Lodge

Hotel concepts: 3 hotel pools that will blow your mind

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel concepts: 3 hotel pools that will blow your mind

Editor Hamish Kilburn continues to enjoy this month’s spotlight on ‘hotel concepts’ by sharing three hotel pools that he discovered recently…

Many would argue that the sign of a quality hotel can be measured by the quality of its pool – we’re talking more style over size.

Pool at Four Seasons Lodge

With my wellness hat on – in sync, I hasten to add, with modern traveller demands as we start to emerge from the pandemic with a hunger for wellbeing – I have been on a quest to find unconventional design pools – and here’s what I found.

Villa Vedas at The Luxe Nomad

It’s not strictly a hotel (forgive me) but Villa Vedas, which is exclusively managed by The Luxe Nomad, is a prime example of a property that decided to tear up the rulebook when designing its interiors. Villa Vedas is designed and engineered to feature a breathtaking 22-metre span without any supporting columns in order to provide an unobstructed view right through the property and out to sea. The villa itself represents approximately 1,800 square metres of construction, and is a modern architecturally designed home that is unique and unequalled, with many interesting design features, most of which have been meticulously fabricated on site. The property features a large living area, dining areas, a bar, a media or snooker room, and two bedrooms downstairs, and three bedrooms upstairs. The living area can be opened to benefit from the regular breeze off the ocean, or alternatively enclosed and air conditioned by deploying the Häfele glass sliding wall system, and turning on the Daikin VRV central air-conditioning system.

“I am the Robin Hood of building. Not only do I clean Indonesia and help solve the worlds plastic problem, I feed the poor doing it.” – Designer Stuart Bevan.

But that’s not all. The designer behind this wonderful project, Stuart Bevan, has recently taken a turn towards a sustainable future with an innovative approach to pool design and management. “I was also the builder and the local designer in collaboration with an Australian architect for Mrs Sippy Bali, Bali’s premier pool club that featured Bali’s biggest saltwater pool, Bali’s first and only high dive tower with 4m deep pool and the first pool in the world to to use my new newly developed 100 per cent recycled plastic pool finish. EcoLuxe is a beadcrete made from recycled water bottles. The average pool uses 150,000 water bottles. That’s 150,000 bottles off the beach, out of the rivers and landfill. I take plastic out of the system, not just recycle it. I swap rice with local villages, kilo for kilo to collect waste plastic for my product. It is taking Bali by storm! And  I am about to start international export. Indonesia only recycles two per cent of its plastic. I have an unlimited supply of raw material, only it needs to be hand collected. Hence my rice swap program. I am the Robin Hood of building. Not only do I clean Indonesia and help solve the worlds plastic problem, I feed the poor doing it.”

The Spa at 45 Park Lane

It’s impressive all on its own that 45 Park Lane, a luxury hotel that was once mistaken for sitting in The Dorchester’s illustrious shadow, has recently unveiled a new spa that now shelters the longest pool on Park Lane – the real estate alone in that leafy corner of London usually mean that spa facilities are limited in place for large revenue-generating F&B outlets. But against the odds, 45 Park Lane, which is part of The Dorchester Collection, can now boast itself as a place that nurtures both wellness and wellbeing in style. What makes this project even more extraordinary is the fact that the new spa is located underground, which created a challenge for designer  Jouin Manku and developer Clivedale London. The answer on how to bring the outdoors in was to adorn the walls with hand-placed mosaic tiles to inject a sensitive nod to biophilic design. The result is an enchanting space that feels far removed from the hustle and bustle of London.

Four Seasons Safari Lodge

It’s all in the location for our next property, which is strategically situated next to a watering hold in the Serengeti, Africa. Perched on a series of elevated platforms and walkways, the Lodge allows guests an unparalleled view of the local safari wildlife from the comfort of the pool.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

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

Island life: Kuda Villingili in the Maldives prepares to open

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Island life: Kuda Villingili in the Maldives prepares to open

Located in the North Malé Atoll, in the Maldives, Kuda Villingili is preparing its international entrance with what we are told an impressive line-up of gourmet dining options – including a take on the famous Singaporean Hawkers street food market – an idyllic beachfront spa, and world-class facilities for those with a penchant for an adrenaline rush. As demand for hotel development in the region soars, let’s take a look…

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! 

Conceived with nature in mind by the Maldivian architectural firm GX Associates in collaboration with the Singapore-based interior design company URBNarc, the resort 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 diversity of cultural expression is celebrated throughout the resort’s gourmet offerings. With views of the idyllic beachfront, the resort’s signature dining establishment – The Restaurant – serves the freshest, handcrafted food for breakfast and offers three menus at dinner: Fire, Earth and Ocean. Inspired by the traditional American Steak House experience, Fire explores the art of grilling meats to perfection. Earth is an Asian-inspired concept that celebrates organic ingredients to enhance classic dishes like noodles and dim sum creations, and Ocean is a fine-dining experience championing seafood specialties, prepared with a European sensibility.

Arival jetty Kuda Villingili

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

Relaxed, flavoursome and social, The Hawkers is an upscale three-stall street food market that sits poolside and serves up soulful, sharing style options. The open kitchen dishes up Indian-Arabic inspired flame-grilled kebabs, charcoaled tandoor, and mouth-watering shawarma, along with Thai-Japanese delicacies such as robatayaki grill and sushi, and Italian-Mediterranean favourites like savoury wood-fired pizza.

A South American take on the classic lunch beach menu is available at The Beach Club, together with daily live DJ sets and an extended list of refreshing frozen cocktails and rosé wines. The resort’s two bars, the Main Bar and the Poolside bar, both offer classic cocktails, mocktails and hand-crafted beers. And overlooking the lagoon, the resort’s cosy Cigar Lounge offers the finest international whiskies and cognacs and a wide selection of premium cigars in a warm, sophisticated and sumptuously leather-decorated ambience.

Over in the spa

Featuring oversized stone baths, organic and plant-based products by VOYA, the spa at Kuda Villingili is rooted in self-love, self-discovery and wellness. Boasting eight self-contained oceanfront spa villas, each promises a holistic journey to reclaim self-connection, self-care and balance through an array of therapeutic and mindful practices.

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

Restorative leisure pursuits include an elevated yoga pavilion, Technogym and a recreation centre with table tennis, billiards, karaoke & table games. There are two state-of-the-art tennis courts, beach volleyball and island excursions that range from surfing, scuba and stargazing to wildlife encounters, sandbank dining and big game fishing.

The hotel opens on June 6. As the Maldives continues to be on the ‘amber list’ for UK travellers, the opening has given modern travellers something to look forward to when non-restricted travel opens once more.

Main image: Kuda Villingili

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.


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

Schluter Systems underfloor heating

Underfloor heating: Enhancing the hotel bathroom experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Underfloor heating: Enhancing the hotel bathroom experience

With wellness being on guests’ agenda as hospitality reopens from the pandemic, Schlüter Systems, which was a Product Watch Pitch Partner at Hotel Designs LIVE, explores how designers can inject a sense of luxury with simple and effective underfloor heating in the bathroom…

It is no secret that wellness has been brought to the forefront of many people’s minds since the start of the pandemic.

Schluter Systems underfloor heating

Even when life returns to some sense of normality, the desire to create the right balance between work and downtime appears to be here to stay.

With the hospitality sector opening back up imminently, it’s the ideal time for hotels to ensure they can offer guests the relaxing environment they are looking for when spending much-needed time away from home.

It isn’t always easy to install additional elements into a hotel once it is finished. Often requiring extensive changes to the floor and wall areas, features such as a standalone bath or waterfall style shower need to be included at the specification stage for the most part due to the nature of the plumbing work involved.

The good news is that some features can be added as part of a renovation project – this is often far less disruptive as structural changes are not usually required.  The electric underfloor heating system Schlüter-DITRA-HEAT-DUO also has uncoupling properties which ensures your tile or stone surface and grout remain crack free. It keeps assembly heights to a minimum which is useful for renovation projects, where build-up often needs to be minimised to ensure flow from room to room.

An impressive project which showcases how well this product has been used in situ is that of the Lalit Hotel. Originally a grammar school converted to a five-star hotel in 2017, the stunning building used Schlüter-DITRA-HEAT-DUO to create underfloor heating throughout the luxury guest wetrooms.

Not only does the membrane create a bonded waterproofing, uncoupling and vapour pressure equalisation layer, it also gives considerable noise reduction. The 2mm thermal barrier fleece reduces sound by up to 13dB (perceived as a 50 per cent reduction by the human ear) which was ideal for renovating the Lalit Hotel.

An inviting hotel experience has always been important, but now more than ever there is a need for extra comfort where possible. With Schlüter-DITRA-HEAT-DUO, the installation of underfloor heating to offer guests cosy warmth can be easily added at any stage. For further information about how Schlüter’s products and services can assist you, visit the website.

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

Main image credit: Schlüter Systems

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

The swimming pool at The Spa at 45 Park Lane

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

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A new level of wellness: The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Designed by Jouin Manku with the aim to shelter an elevated sense of wellbeing and luxury, The Spa at 45 Park Lane has opened and features the longest pool (20 metres) on Park Lane. Editor Hamish Kilburn has the story…

The swimming pool at The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Park Lane has long been regarded London’s ultimate address for unparalleled luxury. Among the quintessentially British hotels that sit on the fridge of Hyde Park, The Dorchester, which recently celebrated its 90th anniversary, is arguably the most famous, with its classic English residential design stylishly seeing it through many decades. The 250-key hotel may be London’s ‘Mother’ of hospitality, but it is the younger sibling in the Dorchester Collection portfolio, which incidentally is situated just a few doors down from The Dorchester, that has raised eyebrows recently on the hotel design scene.

45 Park Lane, which opened 10 years ago, radiates a different kind of style to that of its older family member. Throughout the intimate-sized hotel, luxurious and contemporary interiors by New York based designer, Thierry Despont, provide a club-like feel offering all guests – international and locals alike –  a smart, central environment from which to enjoy London.

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.

“The wellness space has been specifically created to bring a sense of the outside in.”

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

Image credit: Dorchester Collection

The wellness space is part of Mayfair Park Residences, the recently completed development delivered by ultra-prime developers Clivedale London located next door to, and serviced by, 45 Park Lane. Guests of the hotel have full use of the facilities as part of their stay experience, which include separate sauna and steam rooms, a hydrotherapy pool and private changing and shower rooms.

Designed by Jouin Manku, the wellness space has been specifically created to bring a sense of the outside in, referencing artistic flora using traditional Roman style mosaics from Venetian artisans. Taking design cues from the rest of the hotel, natural timbers and light coloured stone bring a sense of calm and tranquillity; while timber slatted ceilings have been integrated to create better acoustics within the pool, gym and relaxation lounge. The entire space has been generously arranged to maximise the sense of spaciousness.

Timber changing room at The Spa at 45 Park lane

Image credit: Dorchester Collection

With the hotel’s strong tie to the world of art that goes beyond its four walls, 45 Park Lane’s art curator Lily Ackerman has selected works by American fine art photographer Jin-Woo Prensena and British sculptor Jill Berelowitz to adorn the space.

The relaxation lounge connected to the pool allows guests to unwind before or after a work-out, spa treatment or swim. Within the lounge is an open fireplace with a menu of healthy dishes by 45 Park Lane’s Executive Chef Jamie Shears.

Tailored personal training programmes can be created for guests, with both one-to-one and family group sessions available to book in advance. The expansive gym features the latest Technogym equipment with dedicated ‘cardiovascular’ and ‘strength’ areas.

John Scanlon, General Manager of 45 Park Lane who was recently profiled in The Brit List, comments: “For almost a decade, 45 Park Lane has stood amongst the best hotels in London. As we look towards our next chapter we are thrilled to be introducing luxury wellness into the guest experience to create one of the finest spa facilities in the capital.”

Christopher Cowdray, Chief Executive Officer of Dorchester Collection, adds: “Marking our first venture into private residences, the completion of Mayfair Park Residences is a pivotal moment in our company’s history. Our heritage focuses on the best of design in prime locations, making Clivedale London a natural partner with shared values. These new residences will benefit from the services of  The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane, while the proximity of Park Lane and Hyde Park further elevate the location to one of the best real-estate sites in the world. We look forward to offering Dorchester Collection’s treasured way of life to the new residents.”

With the addition of the hotel’s new spa and wellness facilities, 45 Park Lane continues to stand as a vibrant, luxurious and welcoming ‘club-like’ hotel that is the London home of an international crowd.

Main image credit: Dorchester Collection

Tierra Chiloé Spa & Wellness Resort: Chile

Hotel spas – what tomorrow’s travellers expect

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel spas – what tomorrow’s travellers expect

In her second article with Hotel Designs – the first looking at public areas post-pandemic – Emma Cook explores how the cultural shift that we have experienced over the last year will impact modern traveller demands in hotel spas and wellness areas…

Tierra Chiloé Spa & Wellness Resort: Chile

As well as hotel spas being a relaxing experience for guests, let’s not forget that they are also a healthy source of revenue for the hotel industry. The title of ‘Hotel & Spa’ sits higher and mightier than ‘Hotel’ with visitors feeling like they’re getting a deeper VIP experience. Gyms appear to be a norm in non-budget hotels so charging more for this service doesn’t allow for competitive industry pricing. Spas, however, have a slightly more executive feel and therefore hotels with this facility are able to bring in more revenue. However, in a more health-aware society, the ‘VIP-feel’ isn’t the only reason people choose hotels with spas over those without. The ability to wind down, in an ever-increasingly busy world, is unparalleled and pre-Covid, this would have been high up on the list of requirements from a lot of travellers.

The romans built public baths with the initial use of treating wounds but soon came to realise that these areas could be utilised so that people could enjoy them socially. In the 21st Century, spas have become more of a place to escape society rather than indulge in it.

The hotel spa at The Gainsborough Hotel & Spa

Image credit: The Gainsborough Hotel & Spa

More and more, we are looking to escape need technology – social media, emails and other commitments – to unwind and forget about everyday life, and a spa break away offers the perfect place to do this. What will become of this social distraction after a dynamic and emotional year of no contact? Will it extinguish in a post-pandemic world where people’s enjoyment in civilisation is renewed or will it prosper as the realisation of the importance of self-love is increased?

A luxury pool with white washed buildings

Image credit: 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

“It seems as though lockdown has provided a lifetime of stress that we just need to ‘sweat out’.”

How many of us, over the last year, have said we need a serious spa day? It seems as though lockdown has provided a lifetime of stress that we just need to ‘sweat out’. Lockdown has certainly taken its toll on our personal versions of ‘pampering’ too; with many of what were interactive experiences moving to online, the need for pampering has been somewhat missing, until now.

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

Image credit: Anantara Kihavah

‘SPA’ is an abbreviation for ‘Sanus Per Aquam’ which translates to ‘health through water’. Water is such a staple part of the spa experience: bathing, steam, mud, ice, etc., and should be an important part of the design too. Our bodies are made up of 70 per cent water, so it makes sense that we are most relaxed when returning to this natural state. The sounds of trickling water and waves is something that many people use to relax, and this is often incorporated into the experience of spas. Water is an incredibly immersive experience. When you submerge underwater, your vision, hearing and movement are all impacted. The muffled sound of the tides that flow past, the tunnel of light filtering in from a nearby window and the ripples of water that escape from your movements. There is no where you can escape the outside world more than you can in water. Incidentally, many design and architecture studios, such as Zaha Hadid Architects, use the flow of water as a source of inspiration for many of their boundary-breaking projects – especially in areas, such as Dubai, where sense of place is not easy to define in a design language.

During this hospitality coma – I’m referencing the sting of the pandemic – a number of us have found comfort in other activities such as running, cycling and yoga. This has become apparent since the first lockdown, where it soon became impossible to get hold of any home-gym/cycling equipment from brands so many took fitness into their own hands.

It doesn’t take much scrolling on social media to see someone hiking up a mountain for sunset, jumping off a cliff and plunging into deep water or surfing some big waves. It seems that even before lockdown, we were discovering the wellbeing benefits of taking new challenges, having new experiences and pushing themselves out of their comfort zone. When normality reigns again, I wonder whether people will begin to choose more adventurous breaks away (perhaps travel further and expect unexpected and non-curated moments on their journey) or will spas regain their high demand as people go back to seeking comfort from relaxing over getting outdoors and moving.

“Trending now are the lifestyle orientated concepts such as yoga retreats and alpine wellness breaks, which successfully address the healthy blend of comfort and experience.”

Wellness is a term derived from wellbeing and fitness, so generating a good balance between relaxing and being active would seem the key to being a hotel which provides a high wellbeing experience. The two can work together cohesively. Trending now are the lifestyle orientated concepts such as yoga retreats and alpine wellness breaks, which successfully address the healthy blend of comfort and experience. These breaks also have sustainable connotations, whether they are sustainable or not is another question, but younger people in-particular recognise this which is even more enticing.

Hotels with gardens will have an upper hand at combining wellbeing and fitness – nothing says wellness like a yoga session in a beautifully landscaped garden. There are lots of things in life that can determine our mood, and the environment we are in is one of them. Hence, design playing such a crucial role in the future of wellness. Nature is proven to boost our mood, potentially by its extreme contentedness despite being witness to everyone else’s daily troubles.

Exterior shot of The Spa at South Lodge Spa

Image credit: The Spa at South Lodge Spa

No matter who we are, we look up to nature in utter awe. The outdoors can be just as much of a relaxing experience as an indoor spa can be. And since the pandemic was declared, we have seen more people enjoying the outdoors even to the point where many have moved out of the city and to the countryside.

It will most likely remain the case that hotels with spa and pool facilities will prosper again when normality returns. Keeping in mind that there is a new trend in the market for sustainable and active retreats also, those without the spa facilities can cater in these ways in order to tend to the much desired ‘wellness break’. In short, wellness facilities, no matter what form (spas, pools or adventure), are likely to be very popular post-lockdown.

Main image credit: Tierra Chiloé Spa & Wellness Resort: Chile

A modern bathroom with gold fittings and white and blue interior design scheme

Villeroy & Boch’s Finion introduces a touch of tech to the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Villeroy & Boch’s Finion introduces a touch of tech to the bathroom

Spanning bathroom furniture, ceramics and accessories, Villeroy & Boch’s award-winning Finion range introduces technology to the bathroom in a subtle, user-friendly way – perfect for the new era of hospitality, says UK Bathrooms

A modern bathroom with gold fittings and white and blue interior design scheme

The bathroom has pivoted from being a purely functional wash space to a room of relaxation and soothing spa-style luxury. How the room is designed has also evolved, with its focus moving from cleanliness and efficiency to the overall bathing experience – how the room makes you feel, and its ambiance. Today’s bathroom is a private sanctuary, a unique space in the house to retreat to, wind-down in and a place to indulge in some alone guilt-free solitude.

In a world of constant multi-tasking, endless scrolling and too much screen time, the bathroom has generally remained the one room in the house where you can escape technology. While of course withdrawing from overstimulating notifications does wonders for wellbeing and mental health, when used in the right way technology can have a positive effect and play into creating a restful, restorative atmosphere.

Spanning bathroom furniture, ceramics and accessories, Villeroy & Boch’s award winning Finion range introduces technology to the bathroom in a subtle, user-friendly way. The gentle Emotion lighting – as its name suggests – taps in to the need for calming and easily controlled soft illumination throughout the space with the option to add LEDs to all Finion pieces, while the collection also sensitively incorporates music and charging points to the bathroom, all activated through a single remote control.

“The Finion collection from Villeroy & Boch cleverly integrates technology into the bathroom so that it is unobtrusive and invisible,” explains Graeme Borchard, MD at UK Bathrooms. “While boasting numerous technological innovations, the collection places a peaceful and holistic experience at its core, focusing on setting the scene for serenity before anything else.”

Image of modern bathroom design

Image credit: UK Bathrooms/Villeroy & Boch

The furniture

Customisation defines the Finion furniture collection. Select from 13 stylish finishes for the front and sides of vanity units – from real wood veneers, Glossy White and Matt Black Lacquer to sunny Gold and rich red Peony – and experiment with different shades for the internal shelf module to create an expressive display unique to your home. Like all Finion elements, vanity units, tall cabinets and shelf boxes can be further customised with the addition of LED lighting which illuminates shelving to make it an atmospheric feature within the space.

The bath

Cast in Villeroy & Boch’s unique, quartz-based Quaryl material which is incredibly durable, impact resistant and easy to clean, the freestanding Finion bath shows off slimline edges and a seamless contemporary curve which can be custom coloured with any RAL tone to perfectly match – or contrast – any furniture combination, tile tone or wall shade. Add Emotion lighting around the base of the bath to make it seems as if it’s floating on a ring of light, the most modern oasis.

The mirror

The Finion mirror may look like a classic, but it’s hiding a whole host of clever features. With a border of Emotion lighting illuminating it from every angle – which can be changed from warm white to cool white at the touch of a button to suit your mood – there are also options for a smart anti-fogging function, plus a premium integrated sound system to set the tone for the whole space.

The charging station

Power up while you zone out with the most discreet way to charge your phone – simply place it on the side cabinet or in the shelf unit to wirelessly charge the battery and stream your music without worry. Design-led, practical and intuitive, the Finion range is the bathroom’s most high-tech way to switch off.

UK Bathrooms and Villeroy & Boch are both Recommended Suppliers. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: UK Bathrooms/Villeroy & Boch

Unidrain_The Hub_03

The Hub – a modern boutique hotel in the heart of Oslo

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Hub – a modern boutique hotel in the heart of Oslo

Clarion Hotel – The Hub, is an environmentally friendly and inspiring boutique hotel located in the heart of Oslo. This new and spectacular hotel offers exciting food with local roots, excellent business facilities and 810 rooms that goes above convention…

Unidrain_The Hub_03

Designed by architects Lund + Slaatto and interior designer Anders Björkén, Clarion Hotel -The Hub shelters an elegant, boutique style. For Björkén, Unidrain was the obvious choice for the bathrooms. “Unidrain drains are elegant and work extremely well in a hotel environment” he says.

Anders is behind the interior design of the historic Grand Hotel in Stockholm and Hotel Vesterbro in Copenhagen. “We use almost exclusively Unidrain’s drains in our projects, in addition to their beautiful and minimalist design, they are easy to install,” he said.

The Hub wants its guests to experience something akin to a “love affair” through classical décor, balanced design, and ground-breaking, innovative interiors solutions without losing any feeling of warmth, intimacy and elegance, which Björkén achieved in the design of the hotel rooms.

On the 11th floor, you will find a fantastic suite overlooking the Oslo Fjord; as with all the rooms every detail has been thought through and nothing has been left to chance.

Unidrain, are very proud to have supplied HighLine Custom drains to The Hub; in the main bathroom and specifically crafted for this space, the classic Unidrain grating has been replaced by marble tiling creating an exact match to the rest of the bathroom floor, here the line drain blends into the flooring and is almost invisible to the eye.

In the second bathroom, the drain becomes a feature; the design in this space focusses on colour and incorporates a delicate black HighLine Colour line drain, which is installed so it fits right up against the wall.

Architecture, interior and design

The hotel wanted their guests to experience a carefully crafted balance between early design classics and ground breaking contemporary elements; the aim was to incorporate the stylish vibe of the 1950s in a modern boutique hotel.

Anemone Wille Våge designed the interiors of the restaurants and common areas; she took her inspiration from the old Hotel Viking, designed by Knut Knutsen for the 1952 Winter Olympics. Delving into the history of the original building she used elements from this, to create a timeless, yet modern design. The design team incorporated elements from the building as it was in 1952, including styling the lobby’s ceiling in exactly the same pink tone as the building’s façade, the bronze columns were inspired by the original window sills, in fact every element of the furniture and interior decorations were handpicked from high-quality manufacturers and specially designed for this project to create its unique look.

The green hotel in the heart of the city – Growhub

With an added environmental twist; The Clarion Hotel is testing a brand-new way to grow food in the city, in a sustainable and economical way. At the very top of Clarion Hotel The Hub, there is a large rooftop garden, known as the Growhub; this provides zero-travelled ingredients for locals, guests and conference attendees alike. From its unique take on interior design, stylish bathrooms and carbon neutral food sourcing The Hub is the perfect place to create an Oslo experience.

Unidrain 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: Unidrain

Product Watch: Finoris washbasin from hansgrohe

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product Watch: Finoris washbasin from hansgrohe

hansgrohe has described the Finoris washbasin as a bathroom item that is ‘for every activity required’. The revolutionary all-rounder features more flexibility and functionality than other basins, as Hotel Designs discovers when reviewing the product…

Did you know the average person spends 400 days of their lifetime using their bathroom? That’s more than 30 minutes a day, and in that time, the dream of a bathroom wellness retreat doesn’t often become a reality. Following customer engagement research, leading bathroom manufacturer, hansgrohe, understands the everyday life of a family bathroom is usually very different: routines vary greatly from relaxation and personal hygiene to soaking laundry and endless cleaning. Modern day life demands a tap that is functional in all these situations and for this purpose, hansgrohe launches Finoris; a basin mixer range which combines minimalistic design and maximum flexibility.

With its innovative “Flex” variant, the new range offers enough freedom of movement to simplify everyday chores. Quickly washing your hair directly in the basin is no longer a problem with the functional pull-out head, using microdroplets instead of the standard water delivery, to reduce splashing. And with the added benefit of easy rinsing afterwards, it reduces any mess outside of the basin. Everyday receptables, such as buckets and tall vases, can also filled in no time at all. In a deeper basin, an infant can be quietly coaxed into having a quick bath. Finoris is designed to be a practical, yet beautiful, addition to everyday family life.

Whether it’s a gentle PowderRain spray or a smooth laminar spray, the tap adapts to the respective application with a flick of the wrist and the push of a button. Both spray modes use no more than five liters of water per minute, ensuring water consumption is kept at a minimum.

Slender design with high functionality

Visually, the hansgrohe Finoris tap impresses with a slim, geometric look. The subtly integrated pull-out showerhead with an action radius of 500 millimetres glides smoothly back into its original position after each use thanks to its magnetic retraction support. Its minimalist design is also available without a pull-out showerhead.

Even the standard model is designed for an extensive range of applications, as it can be ordered in three different heights. This means hansgrohe Finoris can be combined with a wide variety of basin models. Someone planning a wall-integrated shower can install the concealed solution from Finoris. Around the bath, there is option of the hansgrohe sBox, which neatly conceals the pull-out showerhead hose for a clean, clutter-free look.

When it comes to surfaces, the new range offers a variety of options throughout the entire series: Chrome, Matt Black, or Matt White. The complete range naturally includes matching exposed and concealed fittings for the bath and shower. For convenience in the bathroom, hansgrohe Finoris can be combined with hansgrohe Rainfinity shower solutions and the matching Addstoris accessory range.

hansgrohe 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: hansgrohe

Optix 10 Pivot door & side panel Brushed Stainless Steel

Luxury shower goals: Crosswater launches new 10mm walk-in solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Luxury shower goals: Crosswater launches new 10mm walk-in solutions

Meeting new modern traveller luxury shower demands, the OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10 ranges by Crosswater provide a superior quality and versatile design, resulting in a serene bathroom experience…

Optix 10 Pivot door & side panel Brushed Stainless Steel

Weeks before Hotel Designs LIVE invites expert designers to discuss ‘bathrooms beyond practical spaces’, Crosswater has unveiled OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10, which is the brand’s latest collections of 10mm enclosure and walk-in shower solutions.

Showering has become more than just a daily routine – it has become a ritual, with homeowners and hotel guests alike now recognising the positive effects that can come from a relaxing showering experience. Subsequently, the bathroom industry has started to design products that promote wellness within the bathing space, as well as innovation.

Crosswater is already recognised for their holistic approach to showering, with the brand providing a choice of trend-led brassware, including shower valves that will deliver the perfect flow of water, and a variety of indulgent 6mm and 8mm shower enclosures which were strengthened in 2020. Crosswater is looking to continue this success in the 10mm shower enclosure and walk-in shower solutions category with the new additions of OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10.

“OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10 are the newest addition to Crosswater’s Home of Showering programme and enable the brand to offer luxury and every level of specification,” said Stephen Ewer, CEO of Bathroom Brands Group (Crosswater, Burlington, Clearwater, Britton). “Crosswater have been working intensely to bring this offer to market whilst ensuring expected levels of design, quality and value for both our retail partners and consumers.”

A luxury solution for all generations, OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10 are extremely versatile, offering numerous possibilities to align with the needs of the consumer such as Crosswater Clear which enables easy cleaning, slimline wall profiles to create a beautiful interior scheme and availability in a variety of finishes that have been specifically designed to match the colour of Crosswater’s bestselling MPRO brassware range.

Featuring premium 10mm toughened glass, the innovative design of the new 10mm ranges are built to last, with a lifetime guarantee available to add additional peace of mind. The impressive construction which includes durable PVD coating and high-quality components, allows for a seamless transition when opening and closing the shower door, providing the ultimate showering experience.

“Crosswater’s introduction of 10mm enclosures and walk-in solutions is a significant step on our journey to enhance our cohesive design and colour offering across all categories, creating increased sales opportunities for our customers,” added David Button, Crosswater Retail Sales Director UK & Ireland.

As modern travellers continue to prioritise wellness and self-care, Crosswater are meeting the demand for holistic shower solutions with an impressive and extensive range of luxury shower enclosures for all generations.

Crosswater 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: Crosswater

Hotel Designs LIVE: Wellness panel

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The new era of wellness

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The new era of wellness

The final session at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on February 23, focused the lens on wellness. Armed with the knowledge shared in the previous sessions, editor Hamish Kilburn invited world-renowned designers and architects to discuss how wellbeing should be sheltered in hotel design…

Hotel Designs LIVE: Wellness panel

The third Hotel Designs LIVE came to a fitting close on February 23 with a panel discussion to ultimately explore how designers and architects will create moments of bliss inside the luxury and lifestyle hotels of tomorrow. Maintaining a two-metre distance from conversations around hygiene and Covid-19, instead, the session was inspired by modern travellers’ demands for authentic, personalised and non-curated travel experiences.

To kickstart the session, editor Hamish Kilburn explained how he selected the panel. “Each and every person on the virtual sofa is challenging conventional wellness design,” he said,  “as well as opening up new opportunities in regards to hotel and hospitality experiences.”

On the panel: 

Wellness panel at Hotel Designs LIVE

Following introductions, Kilburn asked the panel about challenges and pitfalls to avoid when injecting wellness into urban environments and landscapes before he and the designers and architects scrutinised and made sense out of architecture and hospitality trends that will ultimately evolve the way in which wellness is perceived in hotel design. Within this discussion, as in previous sessions throughout the day, technology was arguably at the heart of each and every point and example that was made – whether that be stripping tech back to its bones or considering meaningful and intuitive lighting to enhance the guests’ experiences.

Here’s the full recording of the panel discussion, which has been edited by CUBE and includes Product Watch pitches from Franklite, Utopia Projects, Geberit, Atlas Concorde and Inspired By Design.

We have now published all highlights and recordings from Hotel Designs LIVE. These include: 

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on May 11, 2021, putting topics such as lifestyle, bathrooms, art and workspace under the spotlight. 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!

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More than 12,000 designers & architects tuned in to ‘GROHE X’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
More than 12,000 designers & architects tuned in to ‘GROHE X’

Dubbed the ‘industry’s answer to Netflix’ – and we can see why now – GROHE X launched this week and attracted more than 12,000 visitors to explore the Grohe hub. Following the impressive start, things are just getting started as editor Hamish Kilburn prepares to host two sessions today on the portal…

‘Discover what’s next’: With this guiding theme, LIXIL EMENA successfully launched its digital experience hub, GROHE X, for its GROHE brand earlier this week. The comprehensive brand platform offers informative and inspirational multimedia content to both GROHE’s professional business partners and consumers. Tailored to the needs and interests of the respective target groups, a customised programme of content is available, which includes how-to videos, inspirational articles, and 360° virtual rooms that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the latest product highlights. In addition, there are exciting video formats such as ‘A Glass of Water with…’, in which various GROHE experts offer behind-the-scenes glimpses of the global brand, or ‘Wow of the Week’, in which a particularly inspiring project or topic is presented each week. While visitors to the brand hub can explore the world of GROHE on their own, GROHE X also opens up new ways of interaction. Business partners can use the platform to make appointments with their sales representatives and thus exchange information directly about the innovations that have just been introduced.

Register here to access GROHE X content on-demand.

“GROHE X is a milestone in our brand history. It opens up unprecedented opportunities to experience GROHE and to discover our products and the issues that drive us,” said Jonas Brennwald, Leader LIXIL EMENA and Co-CEO Grohe AG. “You can connect with GROHE X wherever you are and whenever you want. GROHE X is thus bringing us closer together in a time when we need to stay physically distant. The positive feedback I have received from customers all over the world has reconfirmed that we took the right decision eight months ago. The digital journey we have embarked on with GROHE X has only just begun. The platform is here to stay and will constantly evolve over the next months. My biggest thanks go to the team who made all this possible while working remotely. I’m extremely proud of the courage and leadership they demonstrated in transforming an idea into GROHE X.”

A new milestone in GROHE’s sustainability journey

For the launch of GROHE X, various event formats, both live and on demand for invited guests are available on the platform in addition to freely available editorial content. The highly anticipated GROHE X launch week commenced with a premiere keynote, which gave the global brand the opportunity to once again prove its status as a sustainability pioneer in the sanitary industry and announce its latest achievement: its four best-selling products as Cradle to Cradle Certified ® variants. In contrast to the linear Take-Make-Waste model, Cradle to Cradle stands for continuous material cycles. A product is manufactured in such a way that, at the end of its life, the components can be used to create new products. To achieve certification a product is evaluated in terms of the following five categories: material health, material reutilisation, renewable energy, water stewardship, and social fairness.

“Achieving Cradle to Cradle certifications at Gold level is a huge step in our sustainability efforts,” explained Thomas Fuhr, Leader Fittings LIXIL International and Co- CEO Grohe AG on the importance of the circular approach within the brand’s sustainability strategy. “I am very proud that we are one of the first brands in the sanitary industry to once again make a clear commitment to sustainable transformation and set a new benchmark. Since the building sector accounts for more than 50 per ent of worldwide material consumption, the moving away from a linear model in favour of a circular economy is essential to stop the exploitation of natural resources. We need to transform our business model towards a circular value creation and start considering products at the end of their life as valuable material banks instead of using new resources.”

The significance of initiating a paradigm shift in the construction industry and putting a focus on green buildings based on Cradle to Cradle® design principles was also the key issue in one of the platform’s panel talk discussions, when Dr. Christine Lemaitre, CEO DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council), Dr.-Ing. Peter Mösle, Partner Drees & Sommer SE and Managing Director, EPEA GmbH, and Fuhr discussed how sustainable architecture can be thought and implemented both today and in the future.

During the keynote, GROHE also introduced the new ‘GROHE Installer Vocational Training and Education’ (GIVE) programme which strengthens the social dimension of the brand’s sustainability engagement. GROHE is already collaborating with 26 institutions to date, offering plumbing training across the EMENA region. As part of the GIVE programme, the brand will support plumbing schools in creating a state-of-the-art training framework by installing modern training facilities and providing learning material and experienced technical trainers. Students will complete a specific product training designed by GROHE, for which they will receive an internationally recognised certificate. Given the shortage of skilled installers in the sanitary industry, it is more important than ever to offer an attractive training programme that helps young people build the foundation for a prosperous future.

Image caption: As part of the launch, GROHE unveiled the latest innovations in the GROHE Spa collection

Image caption: As part of the launch, GROHE unveiled the latest innovations in the GROHE Spa collection

Relevant innovations for the living spaces of tomorrow

Another determining theme of the keynote was the reclaimed customer-centricity. This focus on the customers’ expectations and needs is not only reflected on GROHE X or in the brand’s new commercial approach, which offers a differentiated product portfolio and dedicated services tailored to target groups, but is also a guiding principle when developing new products.

This was impressively underlined with the presentation of the relaunched bestseller GROHE Eurosmart. With the fourth generation of the tap range, the brand reinvented one of its core products, making Eurosmart the most versatile line in the brand portfolio. Users can now choose a hybrid tap, which combines manual operation and touchless hygiene, or different lever variants such as the loop lever, which simplifies gripping thanks to the cut-out centre, or the long lever which allows users to operate the tap with the elbow, thereby minimising the contact with surfaces – ideal for healthcare settings.

“When we design a new product, our first question is always: Who are we designing this product for? Human- centric thinking and a deep understanding of consumers are key to developing meaningful products that improve and add value to the daily lives of people around the world”, says Patrick Speck, Leader LIXIL Global Design, EMENA. “With our products, we want to respond to changing consumer needs and react to social trends. In our product development, we are guided by three key macro trends: Urbanisation, Health & Wellbeing, and Sustainability. In the last year, for example, the idea of the bathroom as a spa or wellness area has really accelerated. Consumers are looking for bathroom products which help them create memorable experiences, and want to transform the bathroom into a space where they can take good care of their body, mind, and soul. Our response to this trend is the new GROHE SPA collection which we curated to include the most exclusive products from our portfolio to allow users to enjoy unique moments of bliss.”

What to look out for today on GROHE X. 

At 11:00 CET (10:00 GMT), the platform will go live with the session GROHE X Deep Dive Session – GROHE SPA Health through water. In this session, editor Hamish Kilburn will welcome Speck and Karl Lennon, who is Leader, Projects Channel – A&D, LIXIL in the EMENA region, to discuss the latest innovations of the new GROHE SPA line and how the technology behind each product goes beyond the five senses.

At 11:45 CET (10:45 GMT), straight after the deep dive session, Kilburn will return to host the panel discussion entitled strategies for future living. This session will welcome Cristina Laurijssen (Senior Director of Design for Rosewood Hotel Group), Constantina Tsoutsikou (Founder, Studio Lost), Hamish Brown (Partner, 1508 London) and welcome back Lennon to explore how the pandemic is forcing the industry to rethink wellness and how the increasing demand for ‘safe’ spaces, especially within luxury residential developments and hospitality venues, can be answered.

GROHE will also celebrate the launch of its platform with various event formats throughout the launch week. In the future, GROHE X will be expanded to include hybrid and mobile brand experiences in addition to the digital offering.

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

Main image credit: GROHE

Miniview: Inside Italy’s natural wellness hotel, Terme di Saturnia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Miniview: Inside Italy’s natural wellness hotel, Terme di Saturnia

Design firm THDP’s recently completed project is situated in Tuscany, Italy. As a natural wellness hotel and retreat, Terme di Saturnia has been part-inspired by the elements of earth, air, and water. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Surrounded by beautiful Tuscan countryside, Hotel Terme di Saturina is a luxury golf and spa resort, which is located 3km from both Le Cascate del Mulino waterfall and the village of Saturnia in Tuscany, Italy.

Design firm THDP was responsible for refurbishing both the guestrooms and the public area. The inspiration behind the concept is formed around a ‘super natural’ condition; how elements such as the earth, air, water transform as well as the light and temperature. THDP used terms such as reflection, corrosion, erosion, layering, ripples to create the visual and emotional language of the interior design.

Image credit: Terme di Saturnia/Giorgio Baroni

Light installations with glass spheres were created by Gomiero, who had the intuition to ripple the spheres to create the same reflection of water on the walls.

Botanical wallcoverings and lights that look like waterfalls in the lobby

Image credit: Terme di Saturnia/Giorgio Baroni

The waterfalls of the Mill were the inspiration behind the design of the lobby/lounge area, created together with local artisans such as the Ragnini workshops of Pitigliano who have created oxidised tables and bronzed handles and with experienced craftsmen such as Ramiro Contract and design such as Materica who work metals in a contemporary way, using them liquid to transform them into corroded metals, as well as sulphur dense water.

The selection of four colour palettes resulted from the observation of the resort’s surroundings. The colours have been declined in diverse shades in line with the different areas, from the reception with the ethereal hues of the waterfalls of the Mill, to the patio with the central olive tree embodying the Tuscan countryside, up to the bright tones of turquoise and petrol blue of the handmade glazed terracotta tiles of the bar counter coating, found after a long search, in the colour ‘The Fondale’, from Pecchioli Fierenze.

In order to maintain an ideal continuity with the classic and elegant original style, but more importantly with the conscious intention to adhere to a sustainable approach to renovations, some wooden furnishings have been preserved both in rooms and common spaces.

The hotel, which sits above Italy’s most famous thermal spring dating back 3,000 years, is naturally a safe and quiet place – think home-away-from-home – that is conducive to wellbeing as we enter a new era of wellness.

Main image credit: Terme di Saturnia/Test Srls

maggies by thomas Hetherwick

Industry insight: Biophilic spa & wellness design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Biophilic spa & wellness design

As wellness evolves as we enter a new era of hospitality, we invite Beverley Bayes, Creative Director at Sparcstudio, to discuss the growing trend for biophilic design in spa and wellness properties…

maggies by thomas Hetherwick

It is inevitable that spa and wellness, post-pandemic will become an ever more important and integral part of our lives. We are entering a new era where ‘Health is the New Wealth’ and a healthy lifestyle is recognised as an important part of preventative medicine.

UK hotel spas are set to provide an alternative to holidays abroad as staycations are expected to boom. There has been a 1,900 per cent increase in searches for ‘when do spas open? ‘ post road map announcement, as reported in Googles search trends.

Image of two people in pool overlooking nature outside

Image credit: Sparcstudio

“Excellent design will be absolutely key in the creation of destination spas that are unique, have heart and soul, capitalise on the best aspects of their location in linking to a beautiful landscape or view,” says Beverley Bayes, Director of Sparcstudio. “Many of the trends in spa design this year and beyond relate to our collective desire to connect with nature.”

Biophilic design: Reconnecting with nature

2020 saw the entire country embrace the great outdoors and spas followed by extending their spa gardens, making use of outside space to help social distancing which created a true connection between the spa and nature.

This ‘biophilic’ approach to design is already evident in our own homes, offices and hotels  right now and we expect them to explode in spas in 2021. Spas are realising the full potential of converting outside terraces and underused gardens to useable spa relaxation and wellness spaces.

Nature has always been a key inspiration in the design of the spas that Sparcstudio creates which includes Calcot Spa, Dormy House, The Spa at South Lodge Spa, Sopwell House Spa and the Aqua Sana spas. The Sparcstudio HQ is based by the river at Richmond and we are lucky to have Kew Gardens close to hand for natural ‘inspiration’.

Exterior shot of The Spa at South Lodge Spa

Image credit: The Spa at South Lodge Spa

Location, location, location

 When creating a new build spa, careful positioning is key if you want to take full advantage of the vistas, natural light and links to outside spa space, whether this is via gardens or a even a roof terrace. Thankfully spas have largely emerged from being consigned to the hotel basement, reflecting their increasing importance as part of a hotel’s overall wellness offer and the rise in global spa tourism where spas are destinations in their own right.

The Aqua Sana Forest spa concept that we helped develop, transformed the Aqua Sana space – planning model from inward facing experiences, to experiences that reached out into the forest with the inclusion of in-out pools and panoramic saunas surrounded by trees, as can be seen at the new build Center Parcs Longford Forest Aqua Sana spa in Ireland. At the Sherwood Forest Aqua Sana, we created the first sauna on stilts which takes ‘Forest bathing’ to a new level.

Exterior Spa experiences can also include a yoga deck or dedicated area for ‘Forest bathing’, curved seating around a firepit, a circular walk through herb garden, or bathing in a natural pool. Natural swimming pools offer a sense of freedom and escapism whilst tapping into the popularity of ‘wild swimming’. These fresh water, naturally filtered pools and ponds are set to become an essential element for any forward thinking, eco-conscious spa developer.

We are also designing stretch and personal training zones that extend to an outside deck beyond the interior gym spaces.

Not all sites of course are blessed with an inspiring mountain top, edge of the ocean location or a  view of pristine countryside or even a glacier, but with good design it’s very possible for a building to ‘transcend’ the location and benefit from a biophilic design approach.

Take the inspiring example of Thomas Heatherwick designed wellness centre ‘Maggie’s  in Leeds (a charity that provides support for people affected by cancer). Set in the midst of medical buildings, almost on a traffic island, the studio created a series of beautiful interlocking organic buildings that seem to grow out of the garden and provide a relaxing haven which has central top lit space and roof terraces that features native English species of plants, alongside areas of evergreen to provide warmth in the winter months.

Top lighting

‘Top lighting’ of spaces with the integration of skylights or slots and integration of internal courtyards is a very effective way of providing a connection to nature in spas, framing sky views and allowing light to penetrate into the heart of spa. An example of this can be seen at  Spa Vilnius Lithuania, where we formed an organic shaped top lit winter garden in the heart of the treatment space.

Image of lighting in sauna

Image credit: Champneys Spa Mottram Hall

Interior spaces will also continue to have a strong Biophilic feel and visual link to natural surroundings. I love the Japanese concept of ‘Yukimi-shoji’ meaning ‘Snow viewing Shoji’, which is a type of window made so the bottom half slides upwards, often to reveal a beautiful view. Taking inspiration from this concept, we often frame a view with a single pane of glass in a treatment room or even a heat cabin (such as the Organic Sauna at South Lodge Spa), which features organic forms looking out onto the curving South Downs.

Biophilic form: Curves, waves and organic forms

Curved soft cosseting forms will be a strong theme in spa design offering a comforting embrace to spa users. These will be evident in many elements ranging from curved organic pools (such as the ‘wild swimming’ pool at South Lodge). Bespoke joinery and furniture (for example the statement curved sofas that we created for Champneys Mottram Hall) or the bespoke organic sauna designs and ice feature that we designed as part of the new pool there.

Biophilic design for the senses

Natural light, planting, fire and water are key elements to incorporate into a biophilic wellness interior. But surprisingly  ‘Aroma’ whilst often being a key part of the spa treatment experience itself, can be  overlooked in the physical design of the spaces.

As spa designers but we like to be mindful of Aroma as an integral part of the sensual experience, imbedded in the spa  materials and finishes and experiences.  Thermal and heat experiences offer an opportunity to create little ‘micro climates of aroma’. Cedar is one of my favourite timbers within saunas for its soothing slightly exotic smell.  We have also designed many plant based aroma rooms  including the ‘lavender aroma room’  heat  cabin that we designed as part of the heat experiences at Dormy House Spa utilising local lavender from a nearby farm.

At Sopwell Spa, Cottonmill Club, we created a ‘Rose Relaxation room’ inspired by Moroccan Riads whose central courtyards provide serene sheltered relaxation spaces infused with a Moroccan rose aroma, and rose tinted glass panels create private relaxation niches.

As part of our design of Third Space fitness club at Tower Bridge we created one of London’s first dedicated hot yoga studios. We lined the walls with fragrant Juniper logs and fitted with state-of-the-art anti-bacterial technology, enabling members to enter deep stretches and poses, and detoxify through perspiration, in a hot, cleansing biophilic environment.

Since you’re here, why not read out Guide To Hotel Design article on spa design in the new era of wellness?

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 caption/credit: Maggies by Thomas Heatherwick

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

Image of modern bathroom

In safe hands: New hygiene products from Villeroy & Boch

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In safe hands: New hygiene products from Villeroy & Boch

Following last months spotlight being on hygiene products and safe design, bathroom manufacturer Villeroy & Boch responds with new products that cater for the post-pandemic hospitality arena…

Image of modern bathroom

Interesting fact: in the 19th century, significant scientific insights create the foundations of modern hygiene. An essential contribution is made by sanitary products, which are still not widely used around 1900 and are more a privilege for the wealthy people. At this time Villeroy & Boch starts large-scale production of bathtubs and toilets. This is an important contribution towards democratising bathing and hygiene.

Hygiene in the bathroom with a modern white bath

Image credit: Villeroy & Boch

Are you looking for hygienic, fresh and easy-to-clean bathroom products? Well, with the Villeroy & Boch’s champion and Quaryl you are in safe hands. The rimless DirectFlush toilet with the innovative CeramicPlus and AntiBac surface is the perfect hygiene solution from Villeroy & Boch.

The new generation of rimless WCs offers particularly quick and thorough cleaning. A precise, splash-free water flow ensures the entire interior of the bowl is rinsed thoroughly to ensure cleanliness. The design of the DirectFlush WCs makes them easier to clean – which saves times and money. So the DirectFlush WC is suitable for use in both private households and commercial projects. One of the leading European Hygiene Institutes, IZORE – the “Centre for Infectious Diseases”, Friesland, NL has shown in tests that, thanks to the optimised design, the rimless Villeroy & Boch DirectFlush WC is practically germ-free after cleaning.

The low water consumption of just 3/4.5l is standard for Villeroy & Boch and sufficient for flushing the entire bowl. This is better than required by the standard. As standard EN 997 permits an unflushed area of 85 mm below the upper edge for rimless WCs. But DirectFlush flushes the entire inner bowl!

AntiBac is the innovative hygiene solution for busy commercial areas. The new glaze contains silver ions that have been proven to reduce the growth of bacteria on ceramic surfaces and WC seats by more than 99.9%!

Villeroy & Boch has succeeded in improving the properties of ceramics. A special process gives the CeramicPlus surface a permanent highquality finish. CeramicPlus offers optimum hygiene and is kind both to the environment and the wallet. The water forms in droplets on the CeramicPlus surface. These flow off into the outlet, taking residues, such as limescale and dirt with them which makes the cleaning process much easier and quicker.

In combination with CeramicPlus and the rimless DirectFlush WCs, AntiBac ensures maximum cleanliness and hygiene – throughout the product lifetime!

Quaryl from Villeroy & Boch is a unique material for unique bathrooms. Robust, durable yet allows a wide range of designs, nice and warm to the touch. An exclusive material for unusually precise shapes with clearly defined edges and small radii, setting new standards in baths and shower trays design. A great advantage of the material is its surface which provide a perfect hygiene solution. Quaryl is a material with a smooth, pore-free surface that makes cleaning easier and quicker as dirt and limescale have hardly any hold – this ensures a permanent, glimmering shine.

Villeroy & Boch 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: Villeroy & Boch

GROHE X - Key Visual

GROHE launches ‘GROHE X’, a new digital experience hub

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GROHE launches ‘GROHE X’, a new digital experience hub

In an industry-first, On March 16, 2021, Hotel Designs will join LIXIL EMENA to launch a digital platform enabling visitors to experience exclusive GROHE brand insights and product news first-hand…

GROHE X - Key Visual

With GROHE X, LIXIL EMENA launches an industry-first digital platform for its leading global sanitary brand, GROHE. Visitors to the hub have the opportunity to create their own individual GROHE brand experience thanks to informative and inspirational multimedia content tailored to the needs of its professional business partners and consumers. Whether a trade customer wants to know which global trends are impacting the sanitary business, an installer is looking for how-to videos to make their working day easier, an architect is seeking inspiration on the latest design trends, or a consumer is searching for state-of-the-art product innovations to make their dream bathroom a reality – GROHE X allows everyone to explore the world of GROHE and expand their horizons for a better way of living.

Originally intended as an alternative to the biennial ISH, the world’s leading trade fair for water and HVAC, from which GROHE withdrew due to the Covid-19 pandemic, GROHE X is now more than a trade fair substitute. Alongside uniting thought-provoking and entertaining stories in one place, GROHE X brings the world closer together, offering a platform that can facilitate engaging exchange and support from the brand’s experts. Now that opportunities for face-to-face meetings are limited, GROHE X provides the perfect environment for collaborating and sharing ideas – the new place to meet in the digital world. In addition to the comprehensive free editorial content available, the platform launches on Tuesday 16th March 2021 with dedicated event formats tailored to GROHE’s professional business partners.

“GROHE X is a result of our disruptive way of thinking. We embraced the new normal and understood challenges as new opportunities,” is how Jonas Brennwald, Leader LIXIL EMENA and Co-CEO Grohe AG explains the central role that GROHE X plays for the global brand. “For me, GROHE X is proof that, especially at times like these, you need to exchange ‘but’ for ‘imagine if’ and I’m more than proud that everyone at GROHE was so bold to thinking open-mindedly like this.

“With GROHE X, we offer our customers a central, always-available brand hub to get inspired but also to interact with us – wherever they are, whenever they need us. Also, in the future, we aim to pave new paths with GROHE X. The digital platform is just the beginning of an own experience ecosystem that will drive engagement with our customers in the years to come. As soon as it is possible again, GROHE X will be supplemented by hybrid or truck tour events.”

A modern and minimalist bathroom featuring GROHE products

Image credit: GROHE

“Although physical distance is key these days, we still want to offer our customers a unique setting to experience our innovations and to exchange with us directly,” says Thomas Fuhr, Leader Fittings LIXIL International and Co- CEO Grohe AG. “GROHE X allows everyone to immerse in the diverse world of GROHE and it gives you the building blocks to create an individual brand experience. You will get exclusive, behind-the-scenes insights of our plants and how our customer-centric supply chain connects them to the global markets; learn more about our latest technologies developed in our in-house R&D department located in Hemer, Germany; and we will also take you along with us on our sustainability journey, to which we will add another milestone. It is amazing what our teams have brought to life in such a short period of time.”

Putting customer-centricity at the heart

With tailored content carefully curated for each target group and industry channel, GROHE X also reflects GROHE’s new commercial strategy which will begin to be rolled out in the UK to align with the introduction of new product launches. Based on comprehensive feedback from GROHE’s business partners on their expectations from the brand, GROHE’s leadership team developed a go-to-market approach that offers a differentiated product portfolio and dedicated services to each of its target customer groups: distributors, retailers and installers, architects, designers and planners, as well as consumers.

Developing relevant product solutions that improve consumers’ lives requires a deep understanding of what consumers expect from their living spaces and GROHE is striving to anticipate even those unarticulated consumer needs at an early stage of its product development process. The focus on the needs and aspirations of customers will be of central importance with regards to several new products that GROHE will unveil on GROHE X during its launching weeks.

To discover which key consumer insights the brand is building on, which solutions will offer consumers added value in the bathroom and kitchen of the future, and how the brand plans to further expand its sustainability transformation following its double win success at the German Sustainability Awards 2021, visit grohe-x.com from March 16, 2021.

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

Main image credit: GROHE

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

A moodboard of both masculine taps and feminine taps

New bathroom products from Gessi explore gender in design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New bathroom products from Gessi explore gender in design

New bathroom products from Gessi cater for designers trying to achieve masculine and feminine design aesthetics in wellness spaces. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

A moodboard of both masculine taps and feminine taps

Variety is the spice of life, is the message we are receiving when hearing all about Gessi’s latest news. The bathroom brand has made a name for itself by challenging convention in wellness spaces – think spotlight shower and spa-like bathrooms. But it’s recent launch goes another step further to look at shapes, furnishings, and colours associated to both masculine and feminine spaces – all while putting an emphasis on modern traveller demands, such as hygiene and wellbeing.

“Gessi has announced a shift in bathroom architecture to accommodate the emerging needs of living.”

Continuing the tradition of transformation started in 2002 with Rettangolo and the Private Wellness Program introduction, Gessi has announced a shift in bathroom architecture to accommodate the emerging needs of living. Gessi’s Private Wellness Program’s mission is to create spaces of wellbeing in the bathroom. The brand has expanded on this concept to offer separate bathroom areas dedicated to men and women’s distinctly different needs. In this vision, “the woman and man of Gessi” are conscious inhabitants of the contemporary home seeking exclusive areas, totally dedicated and reserved for themselves.

Anello_Ambiente#726 copia

Image credit: Gessi

In a statement, the bathroom brand explains the contrasting demands for men and women when it comes down to bathroom design. “Contemporary men and women relish their rituals of personal care and the need for moments of isolation and relaxation to unwind from the day’s stress,” the statement said. “While both genders seek peace, rebalancing, and regeneration in the bath space, their habits and use of this vital environment remain substantially different. The increasingly restricted shared spaces of domestic life create the need for a decompression room. In answer to this need, Gessi has introduced coordinated furnishing elements that offer men and women divided environments of wellbeing, personalised for their personality, daily rituals and style.”

In Gessi’s vision, wellbeing is achieved in the “appropriation of one’s own space by choosing its shapes, furnishings, and colours”. So everyone feels comfortable in a habitat that has been exclusively created for him/her. Like fragrances, jewellery, or clothing, the new Anello and Ingranaggio collections are designed differently to celebrate each gender and make the bathroom a place that honours men and women’s unique needs.

The design of Ingranaggio has a masculine soul and speaks of essential vigour. It reminds us that we are the perfect mechanism of our existence with its elegant handle shaped like a toothed wheel, evoking a gear in motion. The energy of a moving clockwork ideally transfers to the environment and to the user of this collection.

Ingranaggio_Ambiente#187 copia

Image credit: Gessi

Meanwhile, the Anello design has the feminine elegance and modern grace of a jewel and is notable for its distinctive circular handle. As a symbol of infinity and love, the ring becomes the promise of lasting beauty in her setting of peace and wellbeing.

An downward facing view of modern bathroom products

Image credit: Gessi

Each collection offers a variety of models and finishes perfect for further personalisation of your environment – “Anello, the woman of Gessi” and “Ingranaggio, the man of Gessi.” Gessi’s vision is to revolutionise the bathroom with products designed for men and women’s individual tastes that can also be combined harmoniously or switched to satisfy individual tastes, so to create one room with distinct wellness spaces for each.

Gessi 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: Gessi

Virtual roundtable: Stylish sustainability in wellness

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Stylish sustainability in wellness

For our next magic trick – AKA virtual roundtable – we’ve invited industry experts to take on the topic of stylish sustainability in wellness. Editor Hamish Kilburn leads the discussion that is sponsored by GROHE, a bathroom brand that has put sustainability at the core of each and every decision for more than 20 years…

For years now, we have been scratching away at the surface of sustainability, persuading our clients to allow us to make conscious decisions to make as least impact on the environment as humanly possible when designing tomorrows hotels.

In this quest, Hotel Designs has exposed greenwashing and championed brands and designers who are challenging conventional thought processes in order to design better spaces, for the climate and the people they shelter.

One brand that is clearly and unapologetically leading the way towards a more sustainable future is GROHE. Having just been named one of the 50 sustainability & climate leaders and becoming a double winner at the German Sustainability Awards, there is no brand that is more qualified to help us put this often misunderstood topic under the editorial spotlight. And in order to make this conversation a multi-layered discussion between all segments of the hotel design community, we’ve also asked a handful of leading designers and architects to participate in this virtual roundtable, which is entitled: stylish sustainability in wellness.

Meet the panel:

Hamish Kilburn: Patrick, before we start, why is GROHE able to hold these credentials?

Patrick Speck: Sustainability has been part of our core DNA for more than 20 years now – we have a 360-degree approach to sustainability that incorporates all parts of the process, from product design to packaging but also encompasses our suppliers, customers and our social responsibility alike.

At GROHE, we are quite fortunate to have sustainability as one of our brand pillars, and it was already there when I joined the brand more than 16 years ago. Our ‘GROHE goes ZERO’ initiative allowed us to became the first leading sanitary ware brand to achieve carbon-neutral production last April. This was a huge milestone for us. We also have a big fight against single-use plastics. Unnecessary packaging within packaging is not acceptable.

This DNA, especially with our purposefully driven younger generation who join our team, allows us to generate new and innovative ideas. We are always considering how we can be more sustainable.

Hamish Kilburn: In the last five – 10 years, what have you learned about manufacturing energy-saving products that reduce water consumption?

PS: One thing that we learned is that we cannot compromise performance when becoming more sustainable. This puts big pressure on how we design and engineer our products. We need to ensure that everything we do is going to save water and at the same time perform exceptionally well.

The other learning, I would say, is giving the consumer options. Take hand showers for example. We heard that, while there was a desire for energy-saving products, there were also consumers who were demanding a product that gave them a luxurious full spray. Our EcoJoy technology fulfils this need by giving a voluminous experience whilst using up to 50 per cent less water.

Also, behind the scenes, we worked on engineering ways that would reduce water consumption without impacting the performance of the product.

A modern and minimalist bathroom featuring GROHE products

Image credit: GROHE

Karl Lennon: When it comes to projects its very important that we support architects and designers with sustainable solutions. When recommending a product for a project we try, where possible, to provide solutions that are inherently water efficient so that it doesn’t always have to be an additional consideration for the designer. We know that a lot of the major hotel brands have these requirements in their brand standards and so we consider this very early in the specification process.

HK: This pre-existing idea that sustainable products don’t perform as well is really interesting. Is this still the case today?

Ariane Steinbeck: Not only did it impact the quality but it also had a price tag attached to it. So, in the beginning anything eco was more expensive. And then the brands, such as GROHE with the air infusion built-in, started to, as Karl said, standardise sustainability within products. You know their products are good and you don’t have to think about it because the quality is there. As specifiers, that’s what we are looking for!

Image of modern and clean looking bathroom

Image credit: GROHE

Emma King: The sustainable aspects should not impact the guest experience, so there has to be a balance.

HK: Despite brands using technology to ensure that quality is not sacrificed in eco-products, I get the feeling it’s still a challenge pitching these options to clients. What are your thoughts on this?

Sarah Murphy: That’s definitely an issue. In our design meetings, it’s always challenging to pitch a product that has the qualities we are looking for but is more expensive. However, it comes from the top down. If a brand is inherently sustainable, then we find ourselves as designers not really having to pitch too hard because the product, and the brand’s credentials speak volumes.

Equally, consumers are so aware and are seeking sustainable options. We are finding that because of this, it becomes an upsell to pitch a sustainable product that performs just as well.

Neil Andrew: I’m quite surprised that it’s not more standard already to add the air into the water. To echo what Sarah was saying, the next generation of consumers are going to be more aware of sustainable products. Eventually, I would like to think this would become the norm. Ultimately, if this was standardised then the cost would come right down.

SM: We sometimes have CPD sessions, where if people talk about sustainability it’s all just talk. But with GROHE you can really see that sustainability runs through the brand’s DNA.

HK: Constantina, you once told me that you have yet to receive a brief where the client wants a fully sustainable hotel. Has that changed?

Constantina Tsoutsikou: I’m glad to say that is no longer the case. We are working now on a project that has a strong focus for sustainability. What has changed in recent years is that when we are specifying bathroom products we will ask if there is a water-saving element because we might choose something from an aesthetic perspective but we do want to also ensure that it is eco-friendly.

“I would say that you can tell if a company is passionate about sustainability on the packaging.” – Constantina Tsoutikou, Founder, Studio LOST

The demand for sustainable options has created a new requirement from our side. I have to say that clients, especially in the boutique scene, do want us to specify products that will save them money in the long term. I’m glad that we are all becoming a lot more aware, and that isn’t just when looking at a product and its performance, but also when considering how it is packaged. I would say that you can tell if a company is passionate about sustainability on the packaging.

PS: The amount of waste you generate from one delivery is crazy. I would say we have reacted to this with common sense and a distinct awareness.

NA: There is a perception of luxury through packaging – like a product wrapped in velvet, for example – and I am sure a lot of people still buy into that. What were designers’ reactions to when you changed packaging at GROHE?

KL: It’s an interesting point. We had a radical strategy change on how we supply customers. To be honest, every customer has a different requirement as to what they want from us. For pod and prefabricated projects, where exactly the same number of fittings and products need to be supplied in each room, we have explored bulk delivery. Rather than putting a box in a box, we can reduce packaging by supplying all of the same products in one box. In all honestly, there is really strong argument to introduce this in other projects.

AS: When the general contractor needs to certify his/her waste, there’s definitely a call for different types of packaging.

Luxe bathroom with huge bath

Image credit: GROHE

HK: Does a sustainable bathroom product limit your creative options?

CT: There are so many options, which are increasing by the day that we probably wouldn’t have a few years ago. I don’t think having sustainability in the background or forefront limits your creative options.

SM: When we ask brands to come in for CPDs, we do ask for them to hone in quite specifically on sustainability just so that we can take something away to go to the client with.

Since you’re here, Hotel Designs is hosting GROHE’s latest CPD module on hygiene on February 9. Click here to participate.

SM: Also, our past projects, like for example Zuri Zanzibar which was the first hotel globally to be awarded EarthCheck’s Gold certification, really help clients see what’s achievable. Okay, that was a very ambitious project, but when broken down everyone can learn from sustainable design and initiatives.

“Having a sustainability mind set certainly directs you.” – Neil Andrew, Director of Hospitality, Perkin&Wills.

NA: I wouldn’t say limit, but having a sustainability mind set certainly directs you. Take plating, for example, like gold and copper, when you come to recycle it becomes more difficult rather than if it was a solid brass or brushed stainless steel. On some of our projects, we are trying to steer clients in that direction. The one thing about plating and powder coating is that with more intense cleaning that the coating will wear off. In terms of shape and form, perhaps not but finishing there is a consideration there.

Also, I would like to see a more sustainable way of plating when it comes to disassembly.

KL: Our PVD quality finishing is more resilient and scratch resident than your standard chrome finish. Therefore, the longevity of the product is much higher. And of course, like you say, there are different processes. How the product is broken down is an interesting point that we can certainly look into.

PS: The way we coat and plate or products is always with longevity in mind which is also very relevant in terms of their positive sustainability impact. We do believe that we are ahead of the curve, and we are constantly looking to see which way the industry is going to establish more innovate methods in this area of product design that ultimately creates new possibilities for bathroom design.

HK: What major pitfalls should designers avoid when trying to implement sustainable design in wellness areas?

NA: My approach to design is to present a solution. I’m of the more minimalist school of thought. The most sustainable interior space is not to have any finishes whatsoever. Using too many finishes and interiors looking cluttered is a pitfall to avoid.

SM: We have had quite a few issues with powder-coated black finish because we have learned that it doesn’t last very long. This is solely down to how many times it is used and how it is used.

“There’s so much more to sustainability, it’s also about longevity and reliability.” – Ariane Steinbeck, Managing Director, RPW Design.

GROHE Bau Cosmo E taps in commercial washroom

Image credit: GROHE

HK: Hygiene is no-doubt an integral part of design. How will new demands born from the pandemic impact sustainability?  

CT: Usually, in public areas of hotels we will have touchless taps, but not so much in the guestroom until now but it could go that way.

AS: I’m always a bit hesitant with touchless taps. I always have to think about what happens to the project once we leave. There is nothing more frustrating than to specify a product that has a tendency to malfunction. Whenever we specify something we are making a commitment to our client. For us to be able to rely on a brand makes the specification much easier. There’s so much more to sustainability, it’s also about longevity and reliability.

NA: These conversations have certainly been amplified recently. We now get asked more about hygiene and the cleaning down of rooms a lot much more than the sustainability angle. I really like the taps that are operated through a foot pedal – not specifically in luxury hotels but it’s another option.

EK: Hygiene does not impact sustainable bathroom design unless the products can only be cleaned with environmentally harmful substances. This situation we are in at the moment might be a drive for eco-friendly cleaning products and bathroom elements being designed so they can be cleaned properly with these.

KL: When hygiene is mentioned, everyone’s first thought is ‘touchless’, but it is also just as much about how that product is looked after. At the design stage an important consideration is that the products we make are easy to maintain. In addition to this, whether it be a standard chrome finish or even our ceramics, most products will have intrinsic antimicrobial qualities that do not promote and can even destroy bad bacteria growth. For instance, with our Sensia Toilet we even have a technology called Plasmacluster. It works by releasing positive and negative ions, which make the bacteria harmless upon contact. So, there are more elements than just touchless that we are really trying to communicate at the moment.

A modern bathroom featuring the GROHE Sensia Arena toilet

Image credit: GROHE

HK: Do sustainable initiatives suffer in Value Engineering processes?

AS: The dreaded word ‘Value Engineering’. It’s hard to say to be honest. If somebody wants to save money, you can always find something cheaper but then it’s up to the client in order to maintain those products.

CT: Whatever project, there is always an element of reviewing cost. More often than not it is a finish that is taken out in the VE process. These things are usually pre-set before we have come on board and it’s always allocated the same. Perhaps this might change in the future as other factors, such as sustainability, become more of a focus.

NA: I always think it’s wise to keep close to the cost consultant. I will look at the large number and see where the money is being spent. However, there are unavoidable budget cuts.


HK: What more can we do to operate in a more sustainable wellness arena?

PS: From the product side, in our research and development we are looking at ways to further improve longevity and relevance. Which means technology for technology’s sake is no longer appropriate. Instead we are looking for project or user-centric. For this, our in-house design team is integral.

Also, the technology we are using, such as our 3D printing techniques, is allowing us to locally be more experiential and proactive in our quest to design and manufacture quality products for the hospitality industry. And at the same time, it’s helping the environment: In comparison to a brass cast body, you use less energy and only as much material as you need.

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

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A moodboard of various bathroom accessories

Modern bathroom inspiration from Unidrain

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Modern bathroom inspiration from Unidrain

The modern bathroom has never been as innovative as it is today, as proven by the creative team at Unidrain who have launched the Reframe Collection…

A moodboard of various bathroom accessories

As one of the foremost drains manufactures in the world; Unidrain knows a thing or two about designing a chic bathroom. The current pandemic has meant people – designers included – have spent more time in their homes and have taken a critical look at their bathrooms, the outcome; a re-vamp or the addition of a completely new bathroom.

A moodboard of innovative modern bathroom accessories

Image credit: Unidrain

Stylish bathroom accessories are an intelligent addition to any bathroom, Unidrain worked with designer Kenneth Waaben to create their Reframe Collection. This exclusive and unique collection of bathroom accessories is grounded in Scandinavian design and quality with addition of intelligent features these products have improved functionality within an elegant linear design.

A moodboard of innovative modern bathroom accessories

Image credit: Unidrain

The Reframe collection comprises of:

Soap Shelf & Shower Wiper – hidden magnets in the wall mounting ensure the safe and discrete storage of the silicone blade wiper, while the shelf above provides a platform for your showering essentials.

Towel Bar – place alongside your bath, shower or washbasin, with its unique mounting design this bar keeps towels stylishly in situ.

Hook – Discrete and effective, these perfectly shaped hooks will prevent towels and garments from slipping.

Toilet Paper Holder – this reversible holder means it can be positioned for your convenience.

Toilet Brush – Sleek design with hygienic functionality. The toilet brush holder has an anti-drip function and for additional cleanliness an easily exchangeable brush head.

Corner Shelf – The shelf is created from a reinforced steel plate and adapts to fit the ‘corner’.

Available in five different colour options; copper, brass, brushed stainless steel, polished stainless steel and black.

The Reframe Collection is designed to work and colour co-ordinate with Unidrain’s award winning linear drains.

Unidrain 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: Unidrain

A cutting-edge bathroom design from Gessi

Bathroom design: Gessi spotted in beautiful projects around the world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bathroom design: Gessi spotted in beautiful projects around the world

From stunning hotels to chic private residences, Gessi is able to offer a style in wellness areas that is unlike anything we have seen before. Here, we celebrate the brand’s couture-like take on bathroom design… 

A cutting-edge bathroom design from Gessi
Chic hotels and spas, dream residences, and yachts exhibit a style of living and travelling steeped in a taste for beauty, design and wellbeing, which all require the same approach in bathroom design (one that is personal to the project).

Impressive urban dwellings that reflect the natural beauty of lakes, mountains, beaches and forests, or even the elegance of fine watercraft, all serve as inspiration for Gessi, known as the private wellness company. Its award-winning commitment to creating a style of well-being in every living space. A vision that designers relish when choosing Gessi products to transform a bath into a Private Wellness Experience to be appreciated in the world’s finest architectural creations.

A colourful open-planned bathroom within a suite

Image credit: Gessi

From the Maldives to Greece, Milan to Saudi Arabia, New York to Shanghai, this collection is at home in the most sophisticated environments. A testament to the company’s presence in the large-project hospitality market, where it has been appreciated for the style, quality, durability, and environmental sustainability of its products and its ability to provide advanced technical support and customisation.

The designers’ choice of Gessi Collections in these highly regarded projects expresses a new awareness of the need to create environments in which design and technology nourish emotional well-being as well as purely functional expectations.

Why not read more about Gessi’s Spotlight Collection?

The largest existing program for the for the creation of customised wellness experiences

The fast pace of daily life does not always allow us to devote time to a relaxing bath, and the customary practice has become to resort to a more practical shower, in which the user can access the well-being given by water by a simple touch.

Indeed Gessi Private Wellness gives life to this idea, as it proposes a design shower concept with advanced functions, aimed at creating a wellness corner or a personal Spa in one’s own bathroom, although the collection boasts countless uses in professional spas worldwide.

A modern shower on an earthy wall

Image credit: Gessi

The Gessi Private Wellness Program represents the world’s widest range of steel showerheads and shower elements for hydro massage, including rain showers, waterfalls and atomisation. These modular elements can be freely composed, for a total customisation of one’s own shower, so to create a “private” wellness, designed according to one’s own desires.

The products of the Gessi Private Wellness system stand out for their patented, innovative architectural aesthetic, the great attention to details of shapes and finishes, the facility of installation even in small spaces.

The advanced functions are designed to be easily accessible and genuinely beneficial to the user. This is the result of very long research on the therapeutic, relaxing and energetic properties of light, an incorporeal element, and water, a fluid element. The outcome is a technology capable of enhancing the therapeutic properties of these two elements and produce not only scenographic effects, but above all emotion and wellbeing.\

Gessi 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.

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GROHE Bau Cosmo E taps in commercial washroom

Hygiene, there’s a RIBA approved CPD module for that!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hygiene, there’s a RIBA approved CPD module for that!

GROHE has launched its third RIBA approved CPD module, Hygiene Optimisation for Sanitary Facilities, which will be hosted by editor Hamish Kilburn and presented by GROHE’s Karl Lennon, on February 9, 2021…

GROHE Bau Cosmo E taps in commercial washroom

In response to the increasing demand for hygiene-optimised solutions since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, GROHE has launched a RIBA approved CPD module for the architecture and design community. Its aim is to facilitate greater awareness and provide inspiration to multiple stakeholders and industries working within the built environment, from architects and designers to house builders, retailers, and plumbers.

Click here to register for the CPD module, entitled: Hygiene Optimisation for Sanitary Facilities.

The latest seminar-based training module is the first on RIBA’s CPD database to look at hygiene in both the kitchen and bathroom, allowing architects and designers an in-depth look at residential design under a hygiene lens, alongside its increasing importance in commercial settings. As a provider of complete bathroom solutions, GROHE is able to offer its expertise holistically when it comes to bathroom applications. The CPD session encourages architects to consider how all touchpoints in the bathroom can be optimised with hygiene in mind, across brassware and ceramics. Meanwhile in kitchen settings, GROHE looks at the emerging importance tapware can play in maintaining hygiene levels.

GROHE Bau Cosmo infra-red tap close up lifestyle

Image credit: GROHE

GROHE first identified a seismic shift in the demand for hygiene-optimised products at the beginning of 2020, which reached new heights once the first wave of the pandemic hit the UK.

“Whilst in the UK commercial market the transition to more hygiene-focussed public spaces and business environments has been in motion for some time, there has been increasing demand in the consumer markets, in such a way that has never been seen before“, says Karl Lennon, Leader Projects Channel – A&D, LIXIL EMENA. “Ongoing conversations with our partners and clients over the last year has signified to us that there is a real demand for more knowledge around hygiene and what solutions are available. The pandemic is likely to impact both the short- and long-term implications of the way our buildings are designed and how we live and work in them. The design community are eager to expand their horizons in order to be able to adapt.”

By designing our surroundings with hygiene front of mind, Hygiene Optimisation for Sanitary Facilities highlights other positive implications to consider too. For example, boosting sustainability credentials with products such as infra-red taps and flush plates which reduce water and energy consumption. Improving the accessibility of our private and public spaces is also a viable outcome, as more autonomous solutions will be favoured over traditional products that rely on manual operation.

To mark the release of its new CPD module, GROHE has partnered with leading hospitality design platform, Hotel Designs, to host a virtual launch event for architects and designers on Tuesday 9th February 2021. Hosted by Hotel Designs‘ editor, Hamish Kilburn, and presented by Karl Lennon, Leader Projects Channel – A&D, LIXIL EMENA, the launch event will give attendees a first look at the new CPD session. GROHE will also be hosting a prize draw for all those who register, with twenty of its brand-new Rainshower SmartActive 130 handshowers to give away. Winners will be announced and contacted shortly after the event.

For those interested in attending the launch event, registrations can be made here. To express interest in booking a private CPD training session, emails should be directed to cpdtraining-uk@grohe.com.

Since you’re here, why not read more about GROHE’s recently achieved sustainability accolades?

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

Main image credit: GROHE

A thermal room in a cave-like environment

Industry inside: bespoke thermal cabin design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry inside: bespoke thermal cabin design

When designing a hotel spa, the benefits of a thermal suite go beyond providing guests with a great pre- and post-treatment relaxation, explains Beverley Bayes, director, Sparcstudio

As well as providing a relaxation touchpoint in the guest experience, a thermal suite also provides great health benefits for the spa user (particularly for the lungs in the case of a salt steam room).

A thermal room in a cave-like environment

Hotels around the world are renowned for their thermal suites. Gone are the days when they are positioned at the end of a corridor, in a subterranean enclosed space, hidden behind a door.

In the past few years, the team at Sparcstudio have quietly revolutionised thermal cabin design in the UK by offering a bespoke, tailored and individual approach for each project, resulting in some stunning designs.

A part of the studio’s design of The Spa at South Lodge, the organic panoramic sauna cabin is a much photographed little ‘jewel in the crown’ of the spa. The walls and ceiling were crafted from timber with a wave like design, to evoke the rolling hills of the South Downs. The floor to ceiling glass provides views out onto those downs and the surrounding spa garden and Sussex countryside .

The team took this one step further, designing two large panoramic saunas looking across the Hertfordshire countryside at the Spa at Cottonmill at Sopwell House.

Spa at Cottonmill at Sopwell House

Image credit: Spa at Cottonmill at Sopwell House

These offer panoramic views to the rest of the spa and landscape beyond. The intention is to connect the guest with nature and create a true sense of place, for example, the team developed a sauna on stilts high above the forest at Aqua Sana Spa, Sherwood Forest.

Beverley Bayes, Director, Sparcstudio says: “When designing a thermal suite, we think it’s vital to create bespoke cabin designs that are unique to the spa, we also place deliberate focus on bringing the outside in with slot windows, or large heatproof floor to ceiling glass walls providing views onto gardens or onto the pool, creating a unique sense of space.”

More recently Sparcstudio developed the Forest Cavern Steam Room at Aqua Sana Spa Longleat Forest, replicating a cave hidden deep within a forest, (the region around the site is known for its caves). Neil Fairplay, Director, Sparcstudio says: “From the outset, we imagined a double-height cave environment where part of the ceiling had collapsed, allowing natural light, trailing foliage and rain water to flood in, it’s hard not to be wowed by this experience”

From the initial client brief, Sparcstudio is mindful of the importance of the thermal suite and the team works to maximise the area designated for the spa, with clever use of space planning. The team develops the concept and design (including lighting, bespoke materials, ceiling profile and special features). They work closely with suppliers such as Halo, Dale Sauna and Rigo to create the perfect thermal area for the client. This non-standard approach pushes the boundaries in terms of materials used and final result.

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.

Main image caption: Forest Cavern Steam Room at Aqua Sana Spa Longleat Forest

Hi-Fi by Gessi wins BoY Award for design excellence

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hi-Fi by Gessi wins BoY Award for design excellence

The innovative Hi-Fi shower system by Gessi wins The Boy Award for pushing the boundaries in wellness product design…

The BoY Award is the ultimate measure of design excellence, honouring the most significant work of the year and recognising designers, architects, and manufacturers from around the globe.

With 761 products entered from 455 manufacturers in 26 countries and 176,517 votes cast, Gessi’s Hi-Fi Thermostatic Mixers has won the Bathroom Fixtures Category.

As the company’s latest launch, Hi-Fi is the convergence of design and technology and represents the new frontier of The Gessi Private Wellness Program, a wide range of modular shower elements that enable a completely customisable bathroom experience from rain showers to atomisation. Hi-Fi Thermostatic Mixers go beyond retro-inspired aesthetics to offer high-fidelity technology for water delivery with accurate precision and perfect ergonomic design.

Since you’re here, why not read more about the ’90s-inspired Hi-Fi systems from Gessi?

The Hi-Fi Collection is a unique addition to the bathroom furnishings market, providing an interactive interface to manipulate every aspect of the shower experience. The controls have been designed to mimic the tactile sensations of period stereo sets with clicking buttons and turning knobs, bringing the satisfaction of fine-tuning and the relaxation of music into a soothing wellness environment. Function buttons feature intuitive graphic icons for easy use, while the knobs have radial dials for precise control of water flow and temperature.

Moodboard featuring Gessi products

Image credit: Gessi

Hi-Fi is the fourth product design from Gessi to receive the prestigious BoY Award. In previous years the Inciso, Goccia and Tremillimetric Collections also garnered top honours.

Gessi 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: Gessi

An image of a pool outside a villa

RAKxa, a revolutionary wellness retreat in Bangkok, opens its doors

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
RAKxa, a revolutionary wellness retreat in Bangkok, opens its doors

The new ‘integrative wellness and medical retreat, RAKxa, has opened its doors to guests in Bangkok’s ‘Green Lung’. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes… 

Set in Bangkok’s preserved ‘Green Lung’, a protected jungle-clad island on the Chao Phraya River, RAKxa is a 60-key retreat (27 villas are currently open), which shelters tailored wellness programmes designed by certified medical doctors.

An image of a pool outside a villa

These programmes combine advanced medical treatments with revered holistic therapies alongside renowned Thai hospitality, resulting in a world-class medical destination.

A mix of traditional materials and crafts have been used in a contemporary styling to create a medical wellness retreat that has avoided the ‘spa’ look whilst ensuring the crisp, neutral tones are not associated with a hospital. Traditional materials include rattan, bamboo, reclaimed wood, earth-wear, ceramics, brass, jute, mulberry paper and water hyacinth. Light colours of teal and gentle greens are used throughout the premises to soothe and restore an element of calm. Showcasing the serene location next to the river, traditional river boats decorate the gym area as well as elements such as old balers used to decorate the walls.

RAKxa uses objects throughout the premises that may not traditionally be considered art, such as teapots, chairs and stools. These all have a sense of place and are considered as traditional Thai decor, based on the countries’ history. One area proudly displays 72 teapots along a shelving unit, all made from a local southern Thai pottery maker and each unique to one another. Using local artisans to create the rugs and woven wall decor, RAKxa exemplifies traditional Thai styling, creating the ultimate wellness retreat where Thai hospitality oozes through the design.

This ground-breaking enhanced wellness retreat is the first of its kind in Thailand and promises a fully transformative experience through personalised three-to-fourteen day programmes with long-term health goals in mind.

Main image credit: RAKxa

Image of Sonar bath from Laufen

How a rise in wellness & wellbeing is inspiring new evolutions in the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How a rise in wellness & wellbeing is inspiring new evolutions in the bathroom

In light of recent events, people are increasingly open to the idea of ‘self-care’ and grasp the importance of wellness and with this bathrooms have become our modern sanctuaries. Bathroom brand Laufen explains…

Image of Sonar bath from Laufen

We now have the technology and products easily available to be able to cleanse, pamper, soak and relax.

Smart technology has become part of our everyday lives and the bathroom is no exception, with technological features coming into play. Shower toilets are an evolving market worldwide and we are seeing an increasing demand within the sector for innovative solutions.

Impressing with a compact design and simple functions, Laufen’s Cleanet Navia, designed exclusively by Peter Wirz, deliberately focusses on the core task of a shower toilet: washing without compromising on hygiene. Providing 3.5 litres of fresh water per minute in a high volume shower jet, allows for ultimate comfort whilst leaving users feeling thoroughly clean.  The WC can be easily operated with the intelligent and convenient rotary button on the side or via a smartphone app. With ergonomic controls and an intuitive design this is perfect for hospitality settings.

Navia toilet by Laufen

Image credit: Laufen

Freestanding baths are the epitome of  luxurious spa-inspired bathrooms. As well as creating an impressive focal point, freestanding baths add opulence and luxury into any bathroom space. A great example of this can be seen in Laufen’s designer collection Sonar. Now more than ever, we need a place to escape and the freestanding Sonar bath enables true relaxation. With a  lavish backrest and a compact bath tray, perfect for all your essentials, Laufen offers the ultimate comfort in bathing.

Laufen’s Marbond is also a great example of innovative use of material. Marbond is a unique material, consisting of two layers, which are firmly bonded to one another and refined with a high-quality gel coat surface finish. The result is a fine surface texture which has a pleasant and warm natural touch, excellent for spa-like environments.

Shower Tray - Marbond

Image credit: Laufen

Laufen has recently used this revolutionary material for the new Laufen Pro Marbond shower trays. Available in over 30 standard sizes, the shower trays are durable, hygienic, easy to clean and have the added benefit of anti-slip. Marbond is also customisable, making it ideal for wetrooms and custom bathroom spaces.

Laufen 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: Laufen


Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

Speakers announced for first Hotel Designs LIVE event in 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Speakers announced for first Hotel Designs LIVE event in 2021

Following two successful events, Hotel Designs LIVE will return on February 23, 2021, with a global line-up of speakers who will appear in a series of four engaging panel discussions. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who will host the event, reveals all…

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

It all started in June 2020. The temperatures in the UK soared to record-breaking highs, which helped the industry awaken from its forced hibernation with passion, energy and optimism. At the time, we were going live to our global audience for the very first time with the aim to keep the conversation flowing and the industry connected during the Covid-19 crisis.

Following a successful debut, Hotel Designs LIVE returned in October 2020 with a new production crew, a fresh panel of speakers and a slightly different tone. UK hospitality was slowly being patched up; hoteliers were polishing off their post-war opening strategies that would reassure the post-corona consumer and the focus for designers  and archtiects was around adding personality to eliminate hotels looking and feeling like sterile shells in a post-pandemic arena.

Since then, though, a second lockdown and a carefully monitored government-led tiered system has left yet more dents on UK hospitality, with other destinations around the globe suffering from similar restrictions; hotels were forced to close or at least part-close once more and the industry felt the sting of the pandemic’s tail with more distressed assets were being announced. Meanwhile, the editorial desk at Hotel Designs exposed the desperate methods that some designers are using in order to win business in turbulent times.

So, with discussions and debates far from over on how the pandemic will impact the global hotel design and hospitality landscape, Hotel Designs LIVE is back with purpose! While the industry is still somewhat socially distanced, the first of three scheduled Hotel Designs LIVE events to take place in 2021 will further amplify conversations unlike any other with the help of what might possibly be the brand’s most renowned speakership line-up to date.

Here are our confirmed speakers (so far) for the event, as well as the topics that we will explore:

Secure your place in the audience for the editor’s welcome.

Secure your place in the audience for session 1: Floor 20, Room 31 – Checking in 10 years from now.

Secure your place in the audience for session 2: Sustainability, beneath the surface.

Secure your place in the audience for session 3: Safe & sound hospitality & hotel design

Secure your place in the audience for session 4: A new era of wellness in hotel design.

“With three Hotel Designs LIVE series planned for 2021, our aim is to further challenge conventional views and opinions in global hotel design and hospitality.” – Hamish Kilburn, Editor, Hotel Designs.

In addition to the live interviews and panel discussions with handpicked industry experts – and to ensure that the event is bridging the gap between hospitality suppliers and designers, architects, hoteliers and developers – the conference also included structured ‘PRODUCT WATCH’ pitches around each session, allowing suppliers the opportunity to pitch their products and services in a ‘live’ environment to the hospitality buyers that are tuned in.

“While the industry’s Covid-19 restrictions continue to change lanes, Hotel Designs LIVE will continue to quickly adapt so that we can serve the design, architecture and hospitality industry with purpose,” said editor Hamish Kilburn who will host Hotel Designs LIVE for a third time in February. “With three Hotel Designs LIVE series planned for 2021, our aim is to further challenge conventional views and opinions in global hotel design and hospitality.”

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to secure your complimentary seats in the audience, click here. If you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

Main image credit: Oladimeji Odunsi/Unsplash

Orb lighting in nail bar inside spa

Case study: taking Champneys Mottram Hall into a new design era

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: taking Champneys Mottram Hall into a new design era

Sparcstudio, an independent, creative design studio with a reputation for excellence in the spa, wellness, hotel and resort sectors has collaborated on one of the UK’s most highly anticipated spa redevelopments for 2020, Champneys Mottram Hall

Orb lighting in nail bar inside spa

Champneys first property in the North of England at Mottram Hall in Cheshire opened this September following a £10m spa renovation. The updated 3,270sqm Champneys Health Club and Spa features 15 treatment rooms.

Sparcstudio were honoured to work alongside Champneys’ own in-house spa experts; Champneys owners, Stephen and Dorothy Purdew & Group Property Director Chris Maryon to help create and design the new spa – both from a space planning and interior design perspective, working alongside Architects Darling Associates.

Exterior of Mottram Hall

Image credit: Peter Kochia

“The result is without doubt the best hotel spa in the United Kingdom.” – Stephen Purdew, owner of the Champneys group.

“We are absolutely delighted, the design by Beverley and Tom at Sparcstudio is just incredible,” said Stephen Purdew, owner of the Champneys group. “With the ambition to build the very best spa for a Hotel in the United Kingdom, there was only one design practice to use, Sparcstudio. The result is without doubt the best hotel spa in the United Kingdom. The design and attention to detail, plus their enthusiasm, professionalism and cooperative working culture has all been a joy. Thank you to the Sparcstudio team, we at Champneys are so happy.”

Image of day beds on side of the pool

Image credit: Fleur Challis Photography

Embracing the concept of ‘barefoot luxury’, the team at Sparcstudio, led by Directors, Beverley Bayes and Tom Howell brings together a design palette to reflect refined nature, which is cosy, contemporary and effortlessly glamorous. The relaxed and informal vibe runs from reception through to the seamless merging of the inside and out throughout the spa. Sparcstudio has created a sense of anticipation in design throughout the guest journey, with glimpses of the spa experiences created throughout the project. In reception guests can see through to the Beauty Lounge, pool area, hexagonal spa café  and gardens beyond.

Image of round sun beds surrounding large pool

Image credit: Fleur Challis Photography

Bayes said: “For Champneys Spa Mottram Hall,  we looked to create a Glamorous contemporary country house vibe befitting to the Champneys brand incorporating lots of areas for lounging and socialising throughout the zones and spa experiences, furnished with grand scale bespoke designed organic  sofas, and including bespoke designed thermal cabins and pools.

“Champneys has always been ahead of the curve in terms of its philosophy of combining  health, beauty and wellbeing, so we paid particular attention to the design of the extensive fitness areas, which includes a timber lined gym with full height glazing overlooking a terrace and reflective pool, a spin studio and and first floor panoramic Studio.

“The palette includes Light oak fluted timber, washed timber ceiling and the use of natural cane to provide an instant connection with nature, offset with sumptuous leather, mohair and brass to create a sense of luxury and opulence.”

On entering, guests are immersed into a luxurious contemporary country house-style. The double-sided fireplace is the centrepiece of this space, providing a warm glow and comforting welcome flanked by double sided bookcases, twin bespoke curving fringed sofas They are greeted at the padded leather, cane and marble reception desk.

Reception at Champneys Mottram Hall

Image credit: Andy Griffiths

Light oak fluted timber, timber ceiling and the use of natural cane creates an instant connection with nature. Geometric diamond patterns on screens are repeated in the fabrics which help to connect the design throughout the spa. Elegant social spaces have been created with small gathering hubs backed by diamond fret cut screens. Carrara marble and satin brass fixtures create a textured, elegant and sumptuous look to the space.

Spa cafe inside Mottram Hall

Image credit: Andy Griffiths

The use of geometric patterns in the spa design create a natural connection to the hexagonal design of the spa lounge and cafe, all complemented Tom Dixon light fittings suspended from the ceiling and doors connecting to the Spa garden.

The light filled timber panelled fitness area has been designed by Sparcstudio to harmonise with the spa overall, reflecting the fact that fitness and wellbeing are an integral part of the Champneys offer. Sparcstudio have created a natural vibe with geometric tiles, herringbone timber floors and rubberised matting for functional and HIIT training make this a purposeful and contemporary fitness space, fret cut screens create mini-zones and breakout spaces for guests and the centrepiece is an aged olive tree, a focal point which connects the inside and out perfectly.

Outside the full height glazed windows of the gym runs a water feature to further connect the indoor and outside, with views to the grounds beyond. Two additional workout studios include one for spin classes and a pilates/yoga studio with  and panoramic views from the full height glazing.

In the changing rooms, Sparcstudio has installed luxurious vanity points, bespoke swivelling powder bar chairs, (by RHA furniture) marble lined showers and spacious, wood and brass lockers to craft a space that is contemporary, modern and private. Guests arriving for treatments can benefit from the Beauty Lounge with with nail bar and pedicure ‘throne’, Champneys’ first barbers and for individual treatments, each treatment room is finished with marble counter tops, brass circular mirrors and soft green walls to create a sense of serenity and calm.

Modern hair salon inside Mottram Hall

Image credit: Fleur Challis Photography

The first floor restaurant is light filled and has panoramic views across countryside and  features pale concrete wall rendering, timber wall paneling and flooring, created from wood and encaustic tiles with geometric patterns. Bespoke banquette seating backed with cane and crafted plush fabrics add a cosy touch with an added element of privacy.

The space features a ‘bris soleil’ screen and fluted timber paneling, bespoke artwork and lighting on each table by Northern Lights.

The pool area has been extensively upgraded with the addition of a  new elevated  oval Hydro pool , experience showers and elegant private cabanas. This leads through to a new Pool and Thermal zone building with a 20m pool top lit pool at its centre,  surrounded by full height glazing overlooking the spa garden. Sparcstduio designed a series bespoke thermal experiences (supplied by Dale Sauna) including a circular salt steam room, brechel bath, ice shute, cold room and organic sauna have been added. The organic sauna is designed with glazed fascia and etched natural pattern features views to the pool area and to the terrace outside.

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.

Main image caption: Andy Griffiths

Product watch: N.A.P (Neuron Activation Pod) by WellTek

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: N.A.P (Neuron Activation Pod) by WellTek

WellTek, the leading London-based furniture company, has introduced N.A.P (Neuron Activation Pod) to the UK from Lo0ok Industries, a ground-breaking Finnish technology company…

The N.A.P pod uses Neurosonic technology to increase the user’s wellbeing by helping to improve sleep quality, reduce migraine problems, relieve stress and many more ailments both physical and mental.

N.A.P is not simply a silent capsule or traditional nap pod. The science behind this pod affects human natural relaxation and recovery mechanisms. The N.A.P technology guides the human body and mind mechanically to a meditation-like state that minimises and prevents stress-related symptoms. Sleep mechanisms are restored, and at the same time, many other stress triggers in the body and mind are corrected.

The Neurosonic technology is based on sensory tissue stimulation, built-in elements transmit a very low-frequency (20-100 Hz) sinusoidal vibration, which is targeted simultaneously to the whole body. As a natural mechanism, vibration affects your body calmly via the autonomic nervous system and the mind. The treatment brings a new dimension to fixing stress-based symptoms and is used to enhance quality of sleep, to ease stress, muscle tensions and swelling. It activates metabolism and assists in both physical and mental recovery.

Marco Kärkkäinen – Neurosonic Founder, Psychotherapist explains: “What does a zebra do when it has managed to escape the lion? It shakes itself. The purpose of this natural mechanism is to calm and relieve the stress reaction. Neurosonic produces this same natural effect – and thus takes relaxation and recovery to a completely new level.”

There are four key effects on the human body and mind, all linked to the influence the technology has on the Autonomic Nervous System, i.e the part of the nervous system responsible for control of bodily functions not consciously directed, such as breathing, heartbeat and digestive processes.

Sleep Quality: N.A.P has a calming effect on the human body. The production of stress hormones is reduced and sleep mechanisms are restored. You calm down and fall asleep more easily. Nightly awakening decreases, and sleep becomes more restful and effective. 

Pain Alleviation:  The neural network calms down, lymphatic circulation becomes more active and pain alleviates. Your body feels more relaxed and sleep mechanisms return to a more normal state, which causes many other things in the body and mind to be corrected.

Stress Relieving:  Positive changes take place in the neurotransmitter action and the neural pathways in the alarm state calm down. Stressed people are able to fall asleep more easily and at night, the wake-ups that are being monitored are reduced or completely gone.

Recovery:  Neurosonic relaxes your body effectively, by balancing the autonomic nervous system. At the same time, muscle circulation and metabolic restoration are restored at a faster pace. On average people report a 50 per cent reduction in recovery time from a strenuous run, work out etc.

Neil Jenkins, Managing Director of Office Blueprint says: “Our product portfolio is committed to supporting healthy and stress-free office environments and N.A.P is an inspiring addition. When your mind is full, it is difficult to find the mental capacity to help relieve the stress from hectic lifestyles. A research based proven and safe treatment with no side effects, N.A.P is a truly remarkable product with transformative effects that will help employee wellbeing whether mental or physical”.

WellTek 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: WellTek

“Fit is the new sexy,” and it’s here to stay in hospitality!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“Fit is the new sexy,” and it’s here to stay in hospitality!

In an exclusive editorial to celebrate the upcoming ‘WELLNESS’ concept coming to ‘ACCOR by Bergman Interiors, Hotel Designs takes a look at the future of wellness in hospitality…

A few years back, gyms were a place where you trained, lost weight or gained muscle. Today, gyms are part of our lifestyles. And with that lifestyle comes community. Whether the gym has a nightclub style with beaming lights, or is an industrial shell, we all seek a gym with the lifestyle and community that speak to us.

This lifestyle is getting us stronger, not just physically but also mentally – such an awakening calls for mind, body and soul.

Within the luxury market, wellness is not an expectation; it’s a dominant consumer value that is essential to the future hotel experience. This demand has inspired the collaboration between ACCOR and Bergman Interiors, in order to design wellness for tomorrow’s consumers.

Image credit: ACCOR

How hotels are changing regarding fitness in general?

Within the exercise world, fitness methods and training techniques have changed however these methods and concepts have been slow to be embraced within the hospitality industry.

What was once seen as an amenity for guests is being recognised as a key facility within luxury hospitality. 66 per cent of Gen X’ers say they actively participate in self-care to improve their physical wellbeing. What’s more, 76 per cent of millennials exercise at least once per week – exercise has become a vital part of our hotel customers lifestyle and our concepts need to meet this heightened expectation.

With this key demand in mind ACCOR has brought the fitness concept centre stage for the Pullman brand with our newly created Pullman Power Fit concept. Working with Bergman Interiors was a natural choice with their strong experience in creating innovative exercise and fitness concepts coupled with a depth of experience within luxury hospitality.

Image credit: ACCOR

Pullman Power Fitness replaces the stale one-size-fits-all hotel gym environment with a bold, artful, social approach to contemporary fitness. Pullman Power Fitness defines and explores our ambition to energise bodies and inspire minds. In-touch with today’s traveller and their fitness goals, we offer much more than a gym. We provide a community where guests can have fun while challenging themselves to take their performance to the next level within a stylised interior design, energetic branding and the latest on Video on Demand exercise technology.

A collaborative partnership with Bergman, the Pullman brand, Wellbeing and ACCOR design departments the concept was developed over 12 months and the result is a vibrant fitness space that makes a statement, beckons interaction, and energises the body while inspiring our guests. Our spaces and programming tap into an exciting new era of training diversity, integrated technology, and embracing the spirit of friendly competition.

Wellness mentally and physically?

“When it comes to wellness consumer research confirms a fundamental societal shift underway, feeling healthier as a lifestyle goal has well and truly entered the mainstream,” Albin Berglund, co-founder and managing director of Bergman Interiors, told Hotel Designs. “Because the modern luxury travellers of now- and the future- is on a journey: to find purposeful new travel experiences that speak to their inner self and to personal fulfilment. And they’re willing to pay a premium for it.”

Image credit: Engine Room

Broadly, we have defined five areas – nutrition, holistic design, movement, spa, and mindfulness – that we view as essential to the overall wellness experience within hospitality. We then customise the delivery and tactics in these areas to suit each brand and its unique guest preferences, demographics, psychographics, brand positioning, culture and locations.

Changes to wellness within the hotel industry after Covid-19

It is important to separate the temporary impact such as heightened sanitation measures, social distancing and impact on travel versus the longer term impact on consumer attitudes and behaviour.

Image credit: BXR

These push factors are the relentless pressures on our health, such as less physically active work, the prevalence of processed food, air quality concerns, light and noise pollution – all of which create malaise, illness and stress. Covid-19 has been a “super-accelerator” to these “push factors” globally, with a cross generational embrace of the need to invest in ones well being and a clear reminder of the benefit of leading a “preventative” lifestyle.

Then we have the pull factors. Wellness is a highly appealing touch point among consumers, a desirable draw that promises unique, enriching, relaxing experiences that help us define and express ourselves. Wellness helps us move away from the push factors and embrace the highly attractive lifestyle that is so integral to luxury hospitality and again this desire to combine wellness with travel will blossom.

In conclusion, we are expected to see an increase in the demand for healthy food within our restaurants, for outdoor exercise and access to nature, exercise will move from inside the gym to outside or a greater demand for in room or video driven options.

Main image credit: Bergman Interiors

Bathoom wellness // How to take a wet room project to the next level

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bathoom wellness // How to take a wet room project to the next level

One of the most apparent changes in the post-pandemic world will emerge from the shifting demands regarding wellness. Schlüter Systems explains how its Schlüter-KERDI-BOARD can take the wet room to a new level…

When it comes to designing wet rooms, getting the perfect finish right is an absolute must. This can only be achieved by creating a completely level and tile-ready substrate prior to installation of the covering material.

The recently BBA certified Schlüter-KERDI-BOARD is the ideal solution to give you full peace of mind. The lightweight backerboard is a proven multifunctional product whilst also being flat and even.

Consisting of an extruded hard foam core panel with a special reinforcement material on both sides and waterproof fleece faces to finish, KERDI-BOARD is also an eco-friendly alternative to fibreglass or cement-faced backerboards. The absence of a cementitious layer means that it costs less to transport and produces no dust when cut, making for healthier working conditions and avoiding the release of toxins into the wider environment.

Using various sealing bands, adhesives, and pre-fabricated corner pieces available from the Schlüter-KERDI range, the seams between individual boards are quickly and robustly sealed. This will create a complete CE marked bonded waterproofing assembly upon which tiling can commence without delay.

The versality of the product is why we see it being a key player in the creation or renovation of hotel spas and bathrooms going forward. Available in a range of seven thickness ranging for 5-50mm, KERDI-BOARD can be used to create shelves, niches, partition walls and even seats within a bathroom area. This can help to create a relaxing and spa-like experience for guests and, in a time when luxury and wellness is at the forefront of the hospitality industry, these further considerations can make all the difference.

When looking to introduce some tranquillity into your bathroom, wet room or spa project, KERDI-BOARD will provide both a reliable substrate to tile onto, and the flexibility to create the wow-factor when considering any additional features.

Schlüter Systems 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: Schlüter Systems

IN VIDEO: Parkside’s discussion about colour & wellbeing

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN VIDEO: Parkside’s discussion about colour & wellbeing

To officially mark the launch of the brand’s new Matrix collection, Parkside Architectural Tiles invited editor Hamish Kilburn to get comfortable on the virtual sofa to discuss colour and wellness in design, architecture and hospitality… 

If the pandemic was a colour, it would arguably be a dull grey. While hospitality is reopening its doors, and designers are making their way back into studio life, the need for colour has never been greater than it is right now.

Cue the launch of Matrix collection by Parkside Architectural Tiles, which was inspired by the brand’s desire to create a range of colours that would allow the design community to curate co-ordinated looks or mix and match colours to create striking design statements.

Its launch has allowed us to question colour and its relationship to wellbeing in and outside the hotel. To start the conversation, Parkside welcomed experts in the international design and architecture arena to participate in an exclusive panel discussion where all colourful opinions were welcome, and indeed encouraged.

Chaired by Joanna Watchman from workinmind.org, the experts on the virtual sofa were Ben Channon, associate architect and head of wellbeing at Assael Architecture; Constantina Tsoutsikou, founder of Studio LOST, who brought a hospitality and public space perspective; Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs, who was able view the topic through editorial lenses; and Vanessa Konig, Konig Colours, who collaborated with the brand to create the new collection.

Here’s the discussion in full:

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

Main image credit: Parkside Architectural Tiles

Gessi unveils holistic Architectural Wellness program

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Gessi unveils holistic Architectural Wellness program

Gessi Architectural Wellness is a revolutionary concept, which allows the customer to immerse emotionally in the fusion of light and water, perfectly merged into “holistic” wellness areas. Hotel Designs explores…

The bathroom brand Gessi has become synonymous with wellness with its aims to create unique environments, characterised by authentic beauty, innovation and technology that represent the best in bathroom design.

Architectural Wellness was born from Gessi’s passion and research for innovation, technology and architecture. The creative solution brilliantly blends all these elements together. Architectural Wellness matches the most advanced attainments in lighting engineering by the historical brand Artemide with the science of water by Gessi.

Gessi Architectural Wellness is a revolutionary concept, which allows the customer to immerse emotionally in the fusion of light and water, perfectly merged into “holistic” wellness areas.

The large shower that helps to evoke wellness

Image credit: Gessi

Harmonising design, customisation and “five sense wellness” functions to a new level, the Binario System of the Program provides for the ceiling installation of rails similar to those used in the lighting industry. In these locations, customisable in number, length and shape, the user can place modules with different functions: waterfall, atomisation, rainfall, designer lighting spots by Artemide or chromo-therapy lights and sound loudspeakers. Gessi has developed the lighting technology with Artemide following a long-standing collaboration in this field. The technical ceiling rail, where the chosen elements for lighting, water and sound are fitted, can be arranged and customised in almost infinite ways even adding new modules. It can even be extended beyond the shower area in order to provide lighting and sound to the bathroom and it could create architectural compositions.

A wellness setup with bathroom and outdoor space

Image credit: Gessi

The System provides for the greatest liberty in customisation of the wellness experience by allowing the user the management of manifold water and light functions according to the his/her needs and pleasures.

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

Main image credit: Gessi

Hotel Designs LIVE – what you missed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs LIVE – what you missed

The debut Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place during lockdown on June 23, broadcasted four engaging virtual seminars. Editor Hamish Kilburn and publisher Katy Phillips share the highlights…

On June 23, hundreds of leading designers, architects and hoteliers from around the world tuned in for the debut of Hotel Designs LIVE.

The new one-day virtual conference, hosted by editor Hamish Kilburn from his hometown of Whitstable in England, broadcasted live conversations with industry experts on topics such as technology, public areas, sleep and wellness. In his opening speech, Kilburn explained how the concept emerged. “Hotel Designs LIVE (sponsored by Technological Innovations Group) was born in the chaotic realms of the coronavirus crisis,” he said. “It is our way – and we believe the most meaningful method – to keep the industry connected while also keeping the conversation flowing.”

Seminar 1: technology

To kick-start the event in a spectacular fashion, Jason Bradbury made a dramatic entrance, on a hover board (we wouldn’t expect anything less). The former presenter of The Gadget Show, who has built an international career as a futurology and tech-trends corporate speaker, took the microphone to start the conference’s debut session entitled: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel.

The seminar included PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Hamilton LitestatTechnological Innovations GroupNT SecurityAir Reviver and Aqualisa.

Seminar 2: public areas

Following a quick-fire interview with Technological Innovations Group, the event’s headline sponsor, and after Jason Bradbury took the mic the debut session entitled Technology’s Role in tomorrow’s hotel, Kilburn launched the first panel discussion of the day, which was entitled: Will public areas ever be the same?

Emma King (Head of Design (Europe) IHG), Alon Barronwitz (Director at Baranowitz + Kronenberg) and Geraldine Dohogne (Founder of Beyond Design) got comfortable on the virtual sofa to discuss the difficult reality of public areas post-pandemic. The main takeaways were adapting as designers to meet modern consumer demands to create flexible and clean spaces, while embedding discreet technology to enhance the guest experience. The panel also discussed the need for intuitive public areas for ‘bleisure’ guests.

Stylo Graphics, which sponsored the session, asked the panel whether they have managed to implement directional signage controls and physical distancing measures to safeguard guest and staff wellbeing whilst maintaining great guest experience. King responded: “We have adjusted layouts of public areas and included social distancing measures in our hotels. To do this effectively, we have ensured that the colours and styles we have used are in keeping with our brand standards.”

The seminar included PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Inspired By Design and Falcon Contract Flooring.

Seminar 3: sleep

Up next, steering the conversation away from the pandemic, Kilburn focuses the editorial lens on sleep with a session entitled: Designing the guestroom to evoke a better night’s sleep, which was sponsored by Silentnight Group.

In order to explore this area of the hotel experience, he welcomed Darija Aziz, the in-house designer for Zedwell Hotels, to discuss one particular project that centres its entire model around sleep performance; Zedwell Piccadilly.

Zedwell has been designed with sleep at its core but also to promote health and wellbeing in every form,” Aziz explained. “Rooms were designed to eliminate clutter and remove anxiety, hence no TV or complicated controls. Interestingly, all the guestrooms have no windows in order to eliminate central London noise and bright lights.”

Adding context to the conversation, and bringing technology back into the discussion, Kilburn welcomes sound architect Tom Middleton into the seminar who explained that technology generically exposes the wrong frequency, and the fact that influences such a circadian rhythm needs to be more considered when designing the guestroom to evoke sleep performance.

The seminar included PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Silentnight Group, Atlas Concorde and Franklite.

Seminar 4: wellness

To aptly conclude the series of seminars, Kilburn hosted the session entitled: The future of wellness post-pandemic, and shared the screen with Beverley Bayes (Director of Sparcstudio), Michael Lahm (Vice President and COO of TLEE Spa and Ivaylo Lefterov (Hotel Development Director at Miris), which is the developer behind Svart, the world’s first ‘energy positive’ hotel.

As well as looking at hygiene, the panel discussed the demand for biophilic design, Covid-19 friendly materials such as copper and pushing the limits of wellness. In addition, injecting personalisation (and bespoke elements) in design and service.

Short-term, the pandemic has put a question mark on F&B in spa areas, but the general thoughts of the day were that healthy cuisine was a link that connects wellness and wellbeing.

When asked what each of the panelists look for in a spa experience, the general consensus was a meaningful treatment and seamless execution and experiences within the spa that balance indoor and outdoor spaces.

The seminar included an insightful PRODUCT WATCH pitch from hansgrohe.

Following the success of the inaugural virtual conference, Hotel Designs LIVE is back for a second edition, which will take place on October 13. The themes selected for the next event will include the evolution of discreet technology in hotel design, sustainability in design and architecture, reassuring the hotel consumer post-pandemic and adding personality in public areas.

Tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available shortly. To discuss sponsorship opportunities for any of the sessions above, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.


Enter UK Bathrooms Design Awards today!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Enter UK Bathrooms Design Awards today!

UK Bathrooms, one of the leading online store for premium designer bathroom products, has launched the UK Bathrooms Design Awards…

The size of your project isn’t important, from the smallest cloakroom to a spacious house bathroom, all entries for the UK Bathrooms Design Awards are welcome.

The expert panel of judges will be looking at sources of inspiration, clever use of space, product choice, overall design and lifestyle features.

Entering couldn’t be easier, you simply need to take photos of your space, preferably before, during and after shots, log onto the website and complete the online entry form. A bathroom space is not always the easiest to take photographs of so UK Bathrooms offer the following advice:

  • Prepare the space first by starting with a blank canvas and then add back in a few *lifestyle items, maybe a candle or plant
  • Ensure everything is spotless and gleaming
  • Pop the toilet lid down
  • Focus on the best feature in the space
  • Try to balance the brightness form any window by switching off flash
  • Give a sense of space by stepping back as far you can in the room
  • Check reflections in mirrors and shower screens – make sure you’re not in them
  • Try different heights but usually best angle is from waist height or from sitting down
  • Avoid unwanted corners of furniture or parts of items around the edge of your shot
  • Avoid extra photo filters try to keep as real as possible

Once you have taken your photos you only need to decide which category to enter, choosing from best design, where the prize is £500 Love 2 Shop Vouchers, best traditional bathroom or best contemporary bathroom and win Villeroy & Boch Tableware worth £500.  There are also three categories for professionals who can enter to win best architect/interior designer bathroom, best hotel/guest house/restaurant bathroom or best trades bathroom and enjoy the prize of £500 worth of products from www.ukbathrooms.com.

Graeme Borchard, Managing Director at UK Bathrooms explains: “As the leading online store for premium designer bathroom products we sell to thousands of homeowners and professionals and decided that it was time to give something back and to recognise some of the stunning bathrooms that are being created in homes and businesses across the UK.  The UK Bathrooms Design Awards have been launched to recognise innovation in bathroom design.”  Graeme continues “We are extremely grateful to our manufacturers and distributors for their help and support, these currently include Arnolds, Bayswater, Barwicks, Crosswater, hansgrohe, Keuco, Matki, Perrin & Rowe, Victoria+Albert, Villeroy & Boch, VitrA and Zehnder Bisque.”

The panel of judges will carefully consider all entries before making their decision in October 2020. For further details including full terms and conditions visit the website.

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

Main image credit: UK Bathrooms/VitrA

Wellness is boundless with Rainfinity by hansgrohe

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Wellness is boundless with Rainfinity by hansgrohe

The bold innovative qualities of Rainfinity by Hansgrohe have taken wellness in the bathroom up a notch to not just meet but exceed the expectations of modern travellers, argues editor Hamish Kilburn… 

Since 1901, leading luxury bathroom manufacturer hansgrohe, has continuously pushed the boundaries of bathroom design and manufacturing to create products that combine intelligent functionality, outstanding design and enduring quality.

With its aim of helping people enjoy the beauty and simplicity of water, its latest range Rainfinity represents a new benchmark in modern shower design, marrying superior engineering with innovative technology and contemporary finishes. Offering the ultimate in showering indulgence, Rainfinity is truly unique.

The bathroom is increasingly the place to unwind and relax. With functional, clinical aesthetics being replace by spaces that enhance wellbeing, bathroom design is having to adapt to meet the demand. Due to its large circular showerhead and adaptable wall connection, Rainfinity offers the flexibility to envelop the entire body in soft cocooning water. The innovative wall connection allows the shower head to be tilted between ten and 30 degrees, eliminating the need for a conventional shower arm, making for a more comfortable showering experience and enabling the user to keep the head and face dry if required. The shower experience is further enhanced by Rainfinity’s slightly concave surface and its diffused arrangement of jet disc holes. This combination ensures spray isn’t limited to the head and shoulders but softly showers the entire body with aerated droplets.

Rainfinity’s shower head has three spray modes, designed to transform the daily shower routine into an extraordinary wellness experience at the simple click of a button. Inspired by the warm, misty droplets of the rainforest, PowderRain provides maximum relaxation. Thanks to six fine openings in every jet outlet, water is transformed into a fine spray that wrap the body in an ultra-quiet blanket of water for a velvety-soft sensation. Located in the centre of the jet disc, the Intense PowderRain mode uses a more concentrated jet of ultra-fine droplets to make light work of rinsing out shampoo. The invigorating RainStream mode delivers consistently high spray intensity through targeted jets, perfect for massaging the shoulders and back after a long day.

“The Rainfinity collection also comprises a comprehensive range of hand showers, available in either the traditional or geometric rod shape.”

The unique shower head design is available in the strikingly minimalist matt white and classic chrome finishes, with contrasting graphite spray discs. The Rainfinity collection also comprises a comprehensive range of hand showers, available in either the traditional or geometric rod shape. The range also boasts streamlined shoulder showers which enhance relaxation by sending powerful rain jets directly at the shoulers. Keeping the head and face completely dry, these shoulder showers come with integrasted shelving and concealed controls for a truly cohesive bathroom aesthetic. All parts come with the standard five-year manufacturer’s guarantee as an assurance of quality.

International, industry-wide recognition for Rainfinity confirms its quality and function are unparalleled. Its success in being awarded the ‘Best of Best’ Red Dot Award in 2019, iF Design Award 2019 and ‘Best of Best’ Iconic Award 2020, heralds Rainfinity as the shower range for discerning wellness and design enthusiasts.

Main image credit: hansgrohe

Why luxury spa linens need a lighter touch to be sustainable

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Why luxury spa linens need a lighter touch to be sustainable

With less than two weeks until it explores ‘wellness post-pandemic’ in Hotel Designs LIVE, Hotel Designs asks The Fine Cotton Company to explain what hoteliers and spa managers should consider when purchasing sustainable linens…

When choosing linens for luxury hotel spas, there’s a lot more to consider than just colour and quantity.

In an environment with oils and creams, pool water and frequent washing requirements it’s crucial to select the right towels and blankets that will perform well and last. That’s why leading luxury hotel spas like The Newt in Somerset Spa and The Spa at Carden come to  hospitality linen suppliers The Fine Cotton Company to source sustainable bath robes, towels, throws and blankets that work for the demands of a spa environment.

The challenges when choosing spa linens

The linens used in spas need to be practical, as well as sustainable, but crucially for luxury hotels, emulate the same qualities as the luxury bath robes and towels found in their suites. No mean feat when they have to go through far more rigorous use in a spa than a bathroom.

And with aesthetics key to many hotel spas’ guest experience, hotels will often want linens in a bespoke darker colourway to match their brand, so when washed regularly at high temperatures, must retain their colour for as long as possible.

The solution

1) Lighter-weight cottons to save energy and laundry time

Bearing in mind the high turnover and use of spa linens, The Fine Cotton Company’s team recommend a lighter-weight robe and towels. For The Newt in Somerset Spa this was engineered to match the design of the towels and robes they supplied to the hotel guest rooms for a consistent guest experience.

A huge cost and time saver, the specially designed lighter-weight robes mean laundry time is reduced as the laundry team can fit more robes into a single wash and a lighter-weight product will dry quicker too meaning less stock is required with faster turn-around times.

2) Washable coloured linens at higher temperatures

Traditionally, coloured bath robes and towels generally can only be washed at 40°C to keep them colour safe.

Working with their expert dye house in Portugal, The Fine Cotton Company used a newly formulated dye which had been specially engineered for use in Spas in Europe to enable spas to wash towels and bath robes at 90°C

In a spa environment, where linens are exposed to treatment oils and creams being able to wash them at a higher temperature from time to time will help remove residual oils and keep the towels feeling fresh, soft and looking good for far longer.

The products

Bath Robes designed to last

Image credit: The Fine Cotton Company

The Dark Grey Rimini cotton velour robes The Fine Cotton Company supply luxury spas are the same design as the company’s Luxury Ravenna 420gsm robes used in boutique hotel rooms, but specifically created in a lighter 380gsm.

These robes are a generous fit, mid-calf length  with a shawl collar and an  integrated towelling lining which offers great absorbency and a gorgeous cosy feel.

All seams are  flat-felled welted which give a very neat finish and adds to the strength and durability of the garment, which is especially important when investing in linens for any business.

Treatment towels that stand up to regularly hot washes

From jumbo spa towels for the treatment beds, bath mats to spa mitts, Th e Fine Cotton Company team supply lighter weight Amalfi 100% Cotton Spa Collection towels for spas which have been designed and engineered to withstand the rigours of spas use.

A simple narrow edge border design and lighter 450gsm weight contribute to a faster drying time and double stitched side seams strengthen and maximise durability in industrial laundering.

Light-weight spa pool towels

So that the design of pool towels match the rib detail of The Fine Cotton Company’s Como towels that are used in hotel bathrooms the team created a bespoke pool towel range, as they needed to be a lighter-weight than the Como 700gsm hotel towels, and are available in a popular dark grey colour which is forgiving in a spa environment.

The Como 550gsm pool towel with  the rib edge is  a combed 550gsm cotton with double stitched side seams for extra durability and are soft, strong and made to last.

Supplied together with a Como Dark Grey 800gsm bathmat they give pool and spa areas a consistent feel and are easy to maintain.

Cotton throws for treatment couches

For treatment couches, comfort and quality are at the forefront of hotelier’s requests when it comes to blankets. The Fine Cotton Company team create bespoke sizes of their white Kensington Floral Trail Matelasse designs, a light-weight and reassuringly tactile cotton blanket.

Made in Portugal, stonewashed for extra softness, they are pre-shrunk and washable to 60°C which reassuringly is the recommended temperature to wash hospitality linens to kill dust mites and allergens.

Portofino washable cotton throws

A popular new addition to The Fine Cotton Company’s spa range are their cotton waffle stone washed throws. These lightweight blankets have been designed specifically for use in Spa’s and Hospitality relaxation areas like The Spa at Carden.

Image credit: The Fine Cotton Company

Made with a fine cotton yarn to guard against snagging and designed with neat hemmed edges, these are no fuss throws that can be folded and put straight back into use as they come out of the dryer.

Being washable means it doesn’t matter if they get wet so they are ideal for use around pools, outdoor hot-tubs, or for use in relaxation areas both indoors and out.

“The Portofino waffle throws are an absolute joy to have in the Spa,” said Stephanie Parry, spa manager at The Spa at Carden. “Our clients love the soft cosy feel of the stone washed waffle and because the throws are washable it doesn’t matter if they get wet so they are ideal for use around the swimming pools, vitality pools as well as our outside seating areas, in the pods or around the firepit.

“The throws are wonderfully easy to care for.  There is no creasing and they maintain their shape so can be folded and put straight back into use as they come out the dryer.”

The Fine Cotton Company 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: The Fine Cotton Company

5 Minutes With: Talking modern spas with designer Beverley Bayes

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 Minutes With: Talking modern spas with designer Beverley Bayes

With pools and spas dominating the headlines on Hotel Designs this month, editor Hamish Kilburn has five minutes with Beverley Bayes, Director of Sparcstudio, which is responsible for the design schemes inside Cottenmill Spa at Sopwell House, The Spa at South Lodge and many more luxury wellness hubs that have challenged convention… 

Earlier this month, Sparcstudio kindly shared its insight on how the current pandemic will affect wellness in hotels going forward.

Although the feature was honest, engaging and informative, it left us and our readers with wanting to know more. Considering the significance of COVID–19, and its long-term affect on the perception of wellness, I caught up the studio’s director, Beverley Bayes, ahead of Hotel Designs LIVE on June 23, where she will be on the panel as we discuss the The Future of Wellness Post-Pandemic.

Hamish Kilburn: Beverley, some would argue that spas and wellness areas are a breeding ground for viruses. Is that a fair statement?

Beverley Bayes: There is a lot of debate about this topic and it’s even more relevant today as spas consider their reopening strategies. I don’t believe it is a fair statement. There are very strict cleaning and hygiene protocols already in place and spas adhere to these stringently. But good design is absolutely key in creating a spa that is easy to maintain and it’s all about the detail. Sadly there are examples of bad detailing even within luxury spas. A common one is not designing in good ‘falls’ to flooring in wet areas, the sloping floor detail enables water to drain off rather than pooling, which around a pool deck is critical. Get it wrong and you face either having your staff constantly going around with squeegees to get rid of excess water , or resorting to the installation of anti-slip matting (as recently witnessed in an otherwise beautiful spa that shall remain nameless!)

Going forward, when spas are given the green light to reopen, I would advise businesses to refer to their equipment and wet and thermal suite suppliers for additional advice on maintaining health and hygiene in a COVID-19 world. I am already seeing suppliers issue new guidance of cleaning rituals that will help to protect guests and staff, so it’s a case of liaising with your current suppliers and following their advice.

Image credit: The Spa at South Lodge, designed by Sparcstudio

HK: How can a hotel sensitively inject its style and branding into the spa/wellness areas?

BB: ‘Sensitively’ is the key word here. I think it’s a real missed opportunity when a spa feels like a continuation of a hotel environment, with similar materials and finishes and maybe a sense of ‘formality’ that you might experience in the Hotel public spaces. For us a Hotel Spa is a chance to enter another more sensuous world where guests can kick off their shoes and ‘let their hair down’ !

For that reason, We always strive to create an informal ‘bare foot luxury‘ vibe to the spas that we design. This can be achieved by adding playful elements, for example at Sopwell Spa where we created a central relax area in the Garden relax room with a group of suspended Swinging chairs arranged around a panoramic fireplace overlooking the fabulous spa Garden. (The garden was expertly designed by Ann-Marie Powell )

Style and branding elements that Hoteliers can inject into a spa include a great service ethic and service style and also a passion for food and beverage, For example at South Lodge Spa, the Exclusive Collection team led by Danny Pecorrelli, applied their passion for F & B to create a  unique 80 seater relaxed all day dining concept for the Spa called ‘Botanica’ (Working in conjunction with the ‘Gorgeous group’ and Sparcstudio for the interiors).

The restaurant offer is designed to complement the other more formal dining options at the Hotel and is open to all hotel, spa users and external guests and is based on botanical, largely plant-based sharing plates utilising ingredients from local suppliers from the south downs.

Image credit: Aqua Sana Spa County Longford, designed by Sparcstudio

HK: From a lighting perspective, has LED lost its place to natural lighting in the spa?

BB: Sparcstudio director Tom Howell, is responsible for all of our lighting design, ‘Being well lit in a spa is key to a sense of wellbeing. We do design spaces to utilise natural light where ever possible, but LED lighting in linear strip or curving tape form concealed in a wall floor or ceiling or joinery feature, provides subtle washes of indirect light and enables us to create great effects. The key with spa lighting is to be mindful of the lighting source position and the guest position which is often in a lying down / facing up position, so the ‘old school’ style ceiling mounted halogen spotlights are definitely  to be avoided in order to prevent uncomfortable glare for guests’.

HK: What will the spa look like in 50 years? 

BB: High tech … low tech. I think the ancient traditions and rituals developed by the Romans in terms of bathing, washing and thermal experiences in a social setting will still be at the core of the spa experience, together with ‘hands on treatments’ reflecting the power of human touch, which will always have a place in spa.

Technology will no doubt have a big role to play in terms of treatments. Fully immersive Virtual reality experiences will no doubt be on the menu, but designed to appeal to all of the senses, including sound, touch and smell, giving wellbeing, as well as cosmetic benefits.

Given our precious link to the natural world, Spas that celebrate unique settings, will be an important part of worldwide Spa Tourism. For example, the world’s first ‘energy-positive’ hotel, Svart, will open in Norway’s Arctic Circle in 2022.

Image caption: The Spa at South Lodge, designed by Sparcstudio

Image caption: The Spa at South Lodge, designed by Sparcstudio

HK: How do you find out about new products on the market?

BB: Word of mouth, trade shows and social media and we are also lucky to be kept updated with the latest innovations and cutting edge products that are being developed by the suppliers themselves. We also relish the opportunity to create bespoke individual designs – be it furniture,  (for example the double lounger with integral lighting at Sopwell’s Cottonmill Club spa) light fitting or heat cabin and thermal suite, all of  which helps to add to a Spa’s feeling of authenticity and uniqueness.

Quick-fire round

HK: What’s the biggest misconception about being a designer who specialises in spas and wellness areas?

BB: That we design ‘spa pools’- those lovely big injection moulded plastic ‘people soup’ models spring to mind! A common mistake is to design a series of spa ‘spaces’ without really understanding or thinking through the journey and how they connect.

HK: Where is next on your spa bucket list?

BB: Aman Kyoto, Anada in the Indian Hymalas and Aro Hā  (Overlooking the ‘otherworldly’ expanse of Lake Wakatipu) in New Zealand’s Southern Alps.

HK: What is your go-to treatment?

BB: A Hammam. A recent Couples Hammam in Bodrum was amazing – the facial loofa part was a bit scary at the time but was amazingly effective!

HK: What has been the most significant innovation on the wellness scene in the last five years?

BB: I would say one of the largest innovations, which is much more low-tech, is the rise of the Spa Garden, particularly here in the UK.

HK: What does luxury mean to you?

BB: Uninterrupted time away from technology and work/ home life distractions relaxing in a tranquil, stimulating/ sensuous environment that is ‘authentic and unique’ and beautifully / thoughtfully designed of course!

Image caption: Cottonmill Club at Sopwell House

Image caption: Cottonmill Club at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

HK: How is social media driving a change in the way in which wellness spaces are being designed?

BB: Social media is a powerful influence in the world of spa. Hotels and wellness spaces are very visual and this links perfectly to a social media platform like Instagram as it is all about the perfect picture. What we are seeing, in some instances, is that spas are creating experiences that are very obviously designed to create an ‘Instagram worthy shot’. An over the top (but often used) example is the placement of pink flamingoes in a spa or pool area, or a snug area that is branded and decorated with flower walls. You see this a lot in resorts in the Indian Ocean. The difficulty is that these experiences don’t place wellness or the guest experience at the heart of it. Following short term trends can be a problem as they are short lived and aren’t durable. They will quickly look outdated as Instagrammers hunt the next big thing, leaving your wellness space looking tired and past its sell-by date.

HK: There is a difference between wellness and wellbeing, how can modern spas evoke both in their design? 

BB: Wellbeing is the experience of health, happiness, and prosperity. It includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction, a sense of meaning or purpose, and ability to manage stress Good Spa Design should create a sense of wellbeing by providing experiences that appeal to the senses and are ideally related to natural elements, and provide an escape from the stresses of work and everyday life.

Wellness, the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort. Fitness/ wellness facilities are an increasingly important element of a spa offer, in the form of yoga studio or outside Yoga deck, a well-designed gym (sensitively designed to fit with the Spas over-all ambience).

We also anticipate that there will continue to be overlaps or a blurring of the lines between fitness, wellness, spa and medical facilities. High end gyms such as ‘Third Space’ integrate spaces for relaxation and wellbeing with the inclusion of thermal suites and relaxation spaces. The sensuous Hot yoga studio that we designed at the Tower Bridge site has shaker style panelling and end grain Juniper log panelling that emit a soothing aroma when heated.

Sparcstudio, which will be involved in Hotel Designs LIVE on June 23, 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: SparcStudio

PRODUCT WATCH: The new 8mm Shower Enclosure Range from Crosswater

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PRODUCT WATCH: The new 8mm Shower Enclosure Range from Crosswater

Bathroom brand Crosswater’s new collection of 8mm shower enclosures in its premium bathroom range encompasses shower screen solutions, fittings and accessories, all designed to give customers the ultimate showering experience…

Combining modern design with superior functionality, the new Design 8, Svelte 8 and Infinity 8 collections by Crosswater provide an unrivalled choice of exceptional designs that will suit any contemporary interior, fitting effortlessly into a range of bathroom configurations and lifestyle requirements.

Each collection features Sliding, Hinged, Pivot, Quadrant and Walk-In designs that will add a designer aesthetic to the modern lifestyle hotel.

Svelte 8

Image caption: Svelte 8 by Crosswater

Manufactured to create maximum effect and crafted with a luxurious Stainless Steel finish, the contemporary Svelte 8 collection comes in an array of diverse styles that will fit into bathrooms of all styles and sizes. Svelte 8 not only offers a sleek design but it also has watertight magnetic seals, a clear glass open handle design, larger wheels for the smoothest and quietest running system and seamless wall profiles with concealed fixings – making it the ideal shower range for any bathroom.

Infinity 8

Image caption: Infinity 8 by Crosswater

Perfect for a shower tray or tiled floor installation, Infinity 8 takes showering luxury to a whole new level of sophistication. Each design across this exclusive range features smooth silent doors, watertight seals and seamless wall profiles with concealed fixings for easy and quick adjustment. Exceptionally crafted with a timeless fully-framed design and finished in Stainless Steel, this contemporary yet beautifully constructed range provides guests with a sleek and on-trend shower enclosure that will be at home in any modern or traditional bathroom scheme.

Design 8

Image caption: Design 8 by Crosswater

Introducing a refined and contrasting finish, Design 8 gives homeowners the option to be bold with design. Intelligently built across an extensive range of door options and sizes, the simple and sleek semi-frameless form with strong 8mm toughened glass offers complete durability. Cleverly designed with door seals and finished in Matt Black or Silver anodised aluminium coating, Design 8 delivers a supreme cutting edge look that is both functional and truly aesthetically pleasing.

Recognised as ‘The Home of Showering’, Crosswater is recognised as a leading supplier of premium shower enclosures, trays, bath screens and accessories. Each design from the 8mm range has been exceptionally crafted with high-quality materials and certified finishes as well as holding a lifetime guarantee, making for an exclusive new range for products of the highest possible calibre.

Crosswater, which is a 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: Crosswater

Gessi’s approach to wellness in outdoor spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Gessi’s approach to wellness in outdoor spaces

Internal and external, closed and open, domestic and nature scale: the Gessi Outdoor line eliminates barriers to create a single grand dimension of physical and mental wellbeing…

The free-standing shower columns of the Gessi Outdoor Wellness Sy­stem were specifically conceived for outdoor spaces. They offer innova­tive combinations of materials, finishes and treatments, with the goal of recreating the stylistic and functional pleasure of the Gessi Private Wellness System outdoors, for a private oasis of wellbeing or in public spaces such as spas and resorts.

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

Gessi outdoor wellness line G01

With an elegant, modern and discreet appearance, the Gessi G01 outdo­or shower gives spaces a refined and contemporary style. Self-standing and created in stainless steel, this model is a winner thanks to its slim and essential design, and gives a special atmosphere to terraces, gardens and pools, the geometric angled tubular structure terminates with a directio­nal shower head equipped with special holes for a rich rainfall jet. The shower head is available with a smooth surface treatment or in 4 different knurled patterns, while the vertical tubular body is equipped with elegant ring-shaped controls in tone-on-tone or contrasting finish, available in smo­oth or knurled texture. For greater practicality, this model features a design hand shower with magnetic attachment. Also for the outdoor world, Gessi offers customisable details and coordinating elements.

Image caption: Gessi G01 | Image credit: Gessi

Gessi outdoor wellness line G02

With an elegant, modern and discreet appearance, the Gessi G02 outdo­or shower gives spaces a refined and contemporary style. Self-standing and created in stainless steel, this model is a winner thanks to its slim and essential design, and gives a special atmosphere to terraces, gardens and pools, the geometric structure characterised by a rectangular tube presents a directional shower head equipped with special holes for a rich rainfall jet. The shower head is available with a smooth surface treatment or in four diffe­rent knurled patterns, while the vertical rectangular body is equipped with elegant ring-shaped controls in tone-on-tone or contrasting finish, available in smooth or knurled texture. G02 is easy to install and use according to the client’s needs, and can be applied to a square architectural block in corten steel or stone, with coordinating accessories. For greater practicality, this model features a design hand shower with magnetic attachment. Also for the outdoor world, Gessi offers customisable details and coordinating elements.

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

Main image caption: Gessi G02 shower | Image credit: Gessi

FEATURE: What roles do outdoor pools and spas play in tented camps?

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FEATURE: What roles do outdoor pools and spas play in tented camps?

As Hotel Designs continues to metaphorically bathe in the topic of Pools and Spas during May, it asks the experts at Bushtec Creations how to sensitively add a new layer of luxury to tented accommodation…

Thinking about going on a Safari to the heart of the African bush or glamping during the hot summer months of Europe? Well there is nothing more refreshing and relaxing than washing off the adrenalin of adventure in a sparkling, clear pool.

Adding a swimming pool to your hotel or tented lodge in cities of towns doesn’t seem too big of a problem, but adding swimming pools in rural, remote locations can pose some difficulties. Yes, one can build a pool on site, with local labour and sufficient time, everything is possible.

At Bushtec Creations, we have different options available when it comes to swimming pools. Our DIY ready-to-assemble pools are hands down a winner for sure when it comes to remote areas. It is innovative, stylish, and elegantly designed with natural beautiful wood, which is the perfect complement to your tented camp/resort. The outer wooden structure of the pool is manufactured to exacting standards from high quality, pressure impregnated, dried and oiled, dense Scandinavian timber, fitting perfectly into any garden or location, in total harmony with its surroundings.

Image credit: Bushtec Creations

With Bushtec Creations, there are quite a few different ways to incorporate swimming pools in your tented camp/lodge/resort. Depending on each client’s requirements and the site layout, you may only want to have one communal pool forming as part of your main area or you might also want to add smaller private plunge pools or Jacuzzis at each tented guest unit which is what happens in most cases. Some cultures prefer private pool at each tent in terms of their customs. It is a good alternative then to add a reflecting pool to your reception tent which can set the tone of a peaceful and harmonic sanctuary where one can sit and reflect.

We have also found that guests at tented lodges prefer private pools, guests visiting these lodges are there to relax, go on game drives and capture the wildness of the African bush, whereas guests at glamping sites in Europe come back from an adventure with the family and don’t mind take a refreshing swim in communal pools. This also helps to reduce the noise levels at the guest units if families are at the communal pools.

Image credit: Bushtec Creative

Spas can also play a big role in your tented camp and can be immensely beneficial. When tourists look for tented camps as part of their vacation destinations, a spa would encourage them to add this to their itinerary.

Image credit: Bushtec Creations

Let’s be honest, how many people can say that they have had spa treatments in a luxury tent before? Not as many right? Tented camps/resorts are trending significantly on a global scale and you definitely want all the “most wanted” added benefits as part of your investment. Your spa’s can also be designed, like your entire camp, just the way you want it.

Image credit: Bushtec Creations

You can have a specific section of your tented camp/resort dedicated to an entire communal spa area which could include multiple spa tents for couples, each with their own inside Jacuzzi, or you can have a few private spa units separated by quite a distance, each with their own plunge pool and firepit to add to the ambience. Then again you can keep it simple with just one spa unit within your tented camp/resort which mainly caters for treatments. Your spa units would in most cases have the same designed “look and feel” as the rest of the tents so that your camp has a unified design throughout.

Image credit: Bushtec Creative

Bushtec Creations has the added benefit of having a dedicated in-house design team who takes all natural surroundings and outdoor elements into consideration when designing your tented camp/resort, aiming for your investment to be in harmony with the outdoors surrounding it. We are also very focused on making sure we create an environmentally friendly tented camp/resort so as to ensure that your natural habitat is looked after. Being aware of the minimal impact wanted on natural environments, we can create tented camps/resorts with the lightest footprint possible specifically to preserve the natural habitat and we have all relevant materials and technology to comply with this requirement.

We can create your tented camp/resort suited to your desired requirements ensuring a great return on investment!

Bushtec Creations 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: Bushtec Creations

PRODUCT WATCH: TOTO’s weightless bathing experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: TOTO’s weightless bathing experience

TOTO offers a health-promoting and meditative bathing experience…

In Japan, a bath is said to be where you cleanse your soul, not just your body. Toto’s bathtubs provide a luxurious place for wellness and relaxation. A bathtub in which people can experience near total weightlessness is more than just extremely relaxing – it has been proven to help relieve chronic fatigue and put the bather in a meditative state.

Toto calls this unusually calming bathing experience Zero Dimension. This is achieved through a specific reclining position, where the legs are slightly bent – in a similar posture to astronauts floating in zero gravity. The result is extremely deep muscle relaxation that calms both body and spirit.

A futuristing bathroom setting with a TOTO bath in the centre

Image caption: The Comfort Round Flotation Tub by TOTO

Toto conducted extensive research on the impact of water pressure on the body, and developed the devices necessary to measure it – all to determine the healthiest position for the body. This process of relaxation and regeneration in the bath is further intensified by massage jets and an ergonomically shaped pillow. Warm water flows out of a narrow opening in the pillow, covering the bather’s neck and upper body in soothing warm water.

The innovative bathroom brand received the Society Award from the Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Essay Award from the Japanese Society for Medical and Biological Engineering for the remarkable research and  findings that went into developing this healthy, stress-relieving bathing experience.

The Flotation tub is the original bath that Toto developed over many years and which has won multiple accolades, most recently the prestigious Red Dot Award 2020. The innovative Zero Dimension technology allows the body to assume an ideal reclined position, inspired by the natural movement of the human body in weightlessness. This promotes deep relaxation. It has built in hydro-hands massagers, waterfall adjustable headrest and concealed low level lighting. It is also ideal for wellness zones and comes in at a generous 2200 x 1050 x 785mm.

The latest  designs, the Recline Comfort, are more compact versions available in two shapes: round and square – also making them ideal companions to Toto’s latest Washlet shower toilets – the RW & SW. These new baths use much of the research from the Flotation bath with a shaped interior similar to the Zero Dimension bathtub.

The inner shape of the two new baths offer the ultimate in comfort. The bathtubs are designed to relax the back and bring the legs into a comfortable position, ergonomic hand grips add to the luxurious sensation of reclining in this bathtub. The baths are also made from Galalato a soft touch material.

TOTO 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: TOTO

SPOTLIGHT ON: Hotel spas that naturally self-isolate in style

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SPOTLIGHT ON: Hotel spas that naturally self-isolate in style

Throughout May, Hotel Designs is putting Spas and Outdoor Style under the spotlight. We continue with an editor’s round-up of some of the world’s most awe-inspiring spas. Hamish Kilburn writes…

Before the COVID–19 pandemic, and I am guessing long after the turbulent waters become calm again, architects and designers globally will question and creatively challenge the conventional spa and wellness experience in and out of hotels.

Despite pretty much all travel around the globe currently being on hold, the desire for quality treatments and checking in to relaxing escapes will return. With more and more hotel groups and brands developing their strategy around the rise in demand for wellness and wellbeing, Hotel Designs takes a look at the most dynamically designed hotel spas around the world.

Arctic Bath, Sweden

Establishing shot of the spa on a frozen lake

Image credit: Arctic Bath Hotel, Sweden

Designed by architects Bertil Harström and Johan Kauppi, the Arctic Bath in Sweden was opened recently following much anticipation. The spa, sheltered in the bath house that floats on the frozen River Lule, was designed using natural woods and stone to create an eye-catching ‘birds nest style’ structure.

W Ibiza, Spain

Outdoor pool

Image credit: Marriott Hotels/W Hotels

“When we first entered the building, which is positioned on the beach front, we couldn’t even see the sea,” the founders of  BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG, Irene Kronenberg and Alon Baranowitz, told Hotel Designs when explaining how the concept of W Ibiza was born. “There had been no thought as to how guests would and should use these public spaces.” The energy of the water, unsurprisingly, became the design concept of the 167-key hotel’s public areas. By opening up the space to become a flexible social hub, the hotel becomes a place that nurtures human connections, and through the use of subtle levels creates touchable distance between each functional area. “The idea is that the energy descends into the unconventional pool area,” adds Baranowitz. “As you move up levels, the lobby/lounge area becomes more reclined, but the open architecture scheme allows for a clever connection between all spaces.”

Equinox Hotel New York

Light and bright pool area in the spa

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

In the summer of last year, Equinox – the brand that made its name for opening and managing a tight-knit community of exceptional fitness and wellbeing clubs in major cities dotted around the world – opened its first ever hotel. Designed by David Rockwell and Joyce Wang to evoke comfort, creativity and focus, the ‘world’s fittest hotel’, as Hotel Designs labelled it ahead of its opening, is sheltered in a 14-storey limestone and glass skyscraper designed by architecture firm SOM. The hotel’s immersive 27,000 square foot spa area, which was the brainchild of Joyce Wang Studio and spa design and consultancy firm TLEE, maximises the most valuable commodity, time. The luxury wellness facilities include tailored treatments, an indoor salt water pool, hot and cold plunge pools, and our E.scape Pods — private relaxation areas that capture unparalleled views of the Hudson River.

Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, England

Outdoor pool

Image credit: Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House

Following a £14m investment, Cottonmill’s three-storey, state-of-the-art, private members’ spa at Sopwell House in Hertfordshire is a break away from the conventional hotel spa. Designed by Sparcstudio, the spa has embraced the growing role of technology in the wellness world, with both the Dornbracht luxury shower, Sensory Sky, which recreates the sensation of showering in the open air, and the ELEMIS Biotec machine, which works to switch skin back on, increasing its natural cellular energy. Outside, award-winning garden designer Ann-Marie Powell created a space to enrich the soul. The botanical theme works around three secluded outdoor hot tubs and a swim-in/out hydrotherapy infinity pool.

COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali

Outdoor pool surrounded by jungle

Image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

Set in a tropical rainforest in Bali – the hotel is nestled in a clearing above a jungle-covered gorge beside the River Ayung – COMO Shambhala Estate remains unmatched, major player on the world’s wellness scene for its effortless approach to wellbeing. Architect Cheong Yew Kuan worked with interior designer Koichiro Ikebuchi to create the estate, combining local stone, wood and traditional alang-alang roofing to build sophisticated spaces that are at once contemporary and thoroughly traditional.

7123 Hotel, Switzerland

thermal bath overlooking mountains

Image credit: 7132 Hotel

7132 Hotel, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, is described best as a ‘luxury hotel and design hotel wrapped into one’, and was designed by world-famous architects including Tadao Ando, Kengo Kuma, Thom Mayne of Morphosis, and Zumthor. The crown jewel of the hotel is the award-winning thermal spa by Peter Zumthor, constructed from 60,000 slabs of local quartzite. The unique atmosphere and the highly mineralised water that comes out of the St. Peter spring at a pleasant 30° Celsius creates a deeply relaxing and natural experience.

Kagi Maldives Spa Island, Maldives

Birds eye view of villa with pool by the ocean

Image credit: Kagi Maldives Spa Island

The 1,500-square-metre wellness centre, slated to open in September 2020, is designed by architect Yuji Yamazaki, who was the mastermind behind the world’s first underwater villa. The 50-villa property is said to provide “a 360-degree wellness experience” with a fully-integrated wellness hub that sits at the centre of the island. This area will be complete with an open-air, teardrop-shaped sky roof its core, and will appear to float atop the island’s turquoise lagoon waters.

Hôtel Chais Monet, France

luxury hotel pool

Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monet

The luxury spa hotel was described as a “modern take on traditional French luxe” when Hotel Designs first caught wind of the project in 2016. In simple terms, an extensive restoration project to convert the wine cellars into a luxury hotel has given the buildings on site a new lease of life. Beneath the guestrooms and suites, the hotel’s spa wellness facilities include an impressive 25-metre indoor and outdoor pool, which allows guests to soak in the natural landscape while enjoying R&R from exploring the city. In addition, the spa also features a modern jacuzzi, a sauna, a handful of massage therapy rooms and a state-of-the-art gym.

Main image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Designing fitness spaces after the pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Designing fitness spaces after the pandemic

Hotel Designs continues putting ‘Spas’ under the spotlight by asking Flair Studio how the design of fitness spaces will change post-pandemic…

The fitness industry has been badly hit as a result of the COVID–19 spread and in the current situation it is exploring innovative ways to save itself from being irrelevant through online apps and zoom sessions from home.

And while training equipment sales for the private consumer are booming, gym clubs, fitness and wellness studios are all going to remain closed for the foreseeable future.

In fact, going to a club and exercise is no longer safe for obvious reasons as people couldn’t use the same equipment unless everything is wiped out, the air conditioning is turned off and some distancing measures are put in place.

The current situation could give designers the opportunity to reimagine the fitness experience and the spaces in which it will take place after the Virus has become more contained and manageable. Obviously, exceptional hygiene measures have to be put in place and paired with air treatment systems which favour the usage of outside air ventilation and the increase of air exhaust.

empty fitness studio

Image credit: Pixabay

At the beginning, design opportunities will probably start from smaller, independent and community integrated boutique fitness centres rather than the larger clubs. This is also due to most of the large clubs being usually located into dark basements wit forced air systems and artificial lights, something that was well epitomised by Simon Rawlings, creative director at David Collins Studio, even before the lockdown: “I want somewhere that feels inspiring,” he explained. “I don’t want to work out somewhere that’s like a nightclub but spend time somewhere that’s calming. I like daylight – it soothes my brain.”

Another important design aspect will be to bring in residential elements into these spaces not only to smooth the transition and create a sense of comfort but also to provide wellness experiences that the users can feel their own. As personal training and one-to-one sessions will be probably more common during the short term, the environment will focus more on authenticity, easiness, intimacy and understatement, rather than on brand awareness and bold, theatrical features.

I am sure people will go back to exercise together at some point as doing the same work out from your living room can become a bit boring and the weather to exercise in the park can be unpredictable.  I am also confident that initially, smaller boutique wellness and fitness centres which are more integrated within their communities will be able to regain business sooner by reconnecting with their customers and delivering a more comforting ant authentic experience.

Flair Studio 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: Pixabay

SPOTLIGHT ON: The challenges of creating the modern spa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: The challenges of creating the modern spa

Spas are often considered an essential part of a hotel offering. To kickstart Hotel Designs putting ‘spas’ under the editorial spotlight this month, Beverley Bayes, Creative Director at Sparcstudio explains how to create a modern spa in 2020 and how to avoid the common pitfalls of design and build…

Spas are synonymous with luxury and over the past decade have become an essential ingredient for many investors who are planning major hotel developments and refurbishments.

As we enter a period that looks beyond the post-COVID-19 lockdown, the desire for spas to provide space and light with the ability to relax in nature will become even more important factors within the remit of spa design.

In our drive to create spas that are authentic, unique and inspiring with a real ‘sense of place’ there are a number of key considerations.  Firstly, the move away from standardisation of the spa experience reflects the path that hotel brands are increasingly taking which is driven by guests desire for authenticity (which also accounts for the rise in popularity of AirBnB).

Authenticity and uniqueness are established at the early concept stage in terms of developing the experience and the guest environment. There maybe elements about the site or historical factors that inform the concept, for example the botanic references throughout The Spa at South Lodge were inspired by botanical history dating back to the 1800’s. Frederick DuCane Godman, a British naturalist and plant collector built the original house and surrounding gardens with over 360 species of trees and plants sourced from the Azores, Caribbean and Central & South America. This helped to layer the build with authenticity and great storytelling.

Image caption: The Spa at South Lodge, designed by Sparcstudio

Image caption: The Spa at South Lodge, designed by Sparcstudio

The selection of materials and finishes that are relevant to the location and the creation of bespoke designed elements, such as furniture and lighting also adds to the feeling of authenticity. The curated spa can also act as a great gallery environment – involving the commissioning of local artists and Artisans add to the uniqueness of the spa and its sense of place.

Location, location, location

The positioning of the spa itself is key if you want to take full advantage of the vistas, natural light and links to outside spa space, gardens or a even a roof terrace. Thankfully spas have largely emerged from being consigned to the hotel basement, reflecting their increasing importance as part of a hotel’s overall wellness offer and the rise in global spa tourism where spas are destinations in their own right. The Aqua Sana Forest spa concept that we helped develop transformed the Aqua Sana space – planning model from inward facing experiences, to experiences that reached out into the forest with the inclusion of in-out pools and panoramic saunas surrounded by trees. At the Sherwood Forest site, we created the first sauna on stilts which takes ‘forest bathing’ to a new level.

Image caption: The outdoor pool at Aqua Sana Longford Forest

Image caption: The outdoor pool at Aqua Sana Longford Forest

Well considered space planning

This is the ‘bedrock’ of a successful modern spa, which I liken to a giant multi-layered jigsaw puzzle, where in order to create a unique and beautiful customer focussed journey and experience, a comprehensive understanding of the operational and technical issues is required.  The siting and sizing of staff/back of house spaces as well as air handling, pool and thermal suite plant is as important to the location and flow of guest spaces and experiences and is essential in the delivery  of a smooth running seamless and profitable operation.

We always look to create an intuitive guest journey obviating the necessity for lots of signage. We also strive to minimise corridors and build in glazed vistas into experiences to help orientate and build sense of anticipation. Special attention needs to be paid to the creation of  ‘signature spaces’ AKA ‘the money shot’. This could be the main pool area or perhaps a feature cabin and is the ‘go to’ shot for spa press, travel writers and beauty editors.

How have spas changed recently

We are witnessing a shift within luxury spa design away from formal, minimalist spas, towards spas that have ‘heart and soul’ that are about comfort, relaxation and reconnecting with nature, and are designed to appeal to the senses; aroma, fire, water, light and planting which are all key elements to incorporate. These trends draw on the concept of ‘barefoot luxury’ and are all delivered in a way that is inspiring, yet practical in a European setting by bringing the outside – in.

Image caption: Dormy House Veuve Clicquot Nail bar, designed by Sparcstudio

Image caption: Dormy House Veuve Clicquot Nail bar, designed by Sparcstudio

The concept of luxurious materials has changed away from plush and bling. Use of natural, raw materials will become more commonplace as spas aim to recreate the kind of ‘barefoot luxury’ that guests experience on luxury, island resorts. The design style will reflect this ethos with the use of marbles such as ‘Forest Green’ in a honed finish (rather than the highly polished black and white marble) recycled end grain timber panelling and green slate and Terracotta tiles in interesting formats. New luxury is about nurture and care, handmade and bespoke design.

New additions, design developments, and how this caters to new customer demand.

Spas have changed massively  A contemporary spa design is far less regimented and is freeform, natural and personalised. Thankfully we are moving away from deep relax rooms that have rows of beds (referred to as ‘chapels of rest’ by some therapists!) to a greater choice of relax zones and experiences scattered throughout the spa.

Image caption: The Whisper Room inside Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

Embracing far greater usage of external garden spaces and natural chemical-free experiences is also key. This could be as simple as relaxing in a herb garden or by a wood burning fire, stargazing from a hot pool as can be seen at the most recent spa development to open in the UK at Carden Park.

Thermal suites and pools are evolving to offer bespoke experiences, rather than standardised designs formed from modular components. There is a move away from thermal suites that are a series of doors leading to enclosed heat cabins, into thermal suites that are light filled glazed spaces, as can be witnessed by the rise of the ‘panoramic saunas’ – such the organic bespoke sauna we designed at ‘South Lodge’. It’s curving forms were inspired by the rolling hills of the Sussex South Downs, over which it looks.

“We also look to connect wherever possible to the surrounding landscape and outside bathing continues to rise in popularity” – Beverley Bayes, Creative Director, Sparcstudio.

Water, water, everywhere

Water will of course continue to play a key role in spa, with its subliminal calming influence.

In a spa the body is fully immersed in water – we spend a lot of time considering this cleansing and the healing processes involved. We also look to connect wherever possible to the surrounding landscape and outside bathing continues to rise in popularity, whether in be in large bespoke hydropool, an in-out swim pool or individual Japanese style hot tubs.

Image caption: Entrance to the in-out pool and lounge area at Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

‘Natural’ swimming pools also offer a sense of freedom and escapism whilst tapping into the popularity of ‘wild swimming’. These fresh water, naturally filtered pools and ponds are set to become an essential element for any forwarding thinking, eco-conscious spa developer. These are friendly to the environment and a unique spa experience for all guests keen to embrace the outdoors.

“We also anticipate that there will continue to be overlaps or a blurring of the lines between fitness, wellness, spa and medical facilities.” – Beverley Bayes, Creative Director, Sparcstudio.

Changing face of spa – the spa as a private members club

Undoubtedly post lockdown there will be an even greater desire to be fit and well. ‘Health is the new wealth’ will be the new mantra, and spa and wellness facilities will have a bigger role to play . Spa design will need to adapt and evolve to meet new requirements and sensibilities, which will include a requirement for more personal space. We also anticipate that there will continue to be overlaps or a blurring of the lines between fitness, wellness, spa and medical facilities. High-end gyms such as Third Space integrate spaces for relaxation and wellbeing with the inclusion of thermal suites and relaxation spaces.

Image credit: Third Space hot yoga room

Image credit: Third Space hot yoga studio, designed by Sparcstudio

The sensuous Hot yoga studio that we designed at  the Tower Bridge site has shaker style paneling and end grain Juniper log paneling that emit a soothing aroma when heated. Whilst a more natural sensuous spa environment can transport  users from a world of work and worry, the integration of intelligent use of technology in a discreet enabling way, will be even move important in the post Covid world, Touch technology via wristband enables hand-free access to zones and areas, can open a locker and pay for lunch or products.

Moving away from the concept of a spa as a once in while treat, we anticipate that there could be an increase in the Spa as a Private members club similar to the model that can be experienced at The Club at Cottonmill Sopwell House Hotel, where spa becomes as regular a  visit  as the traditional gym.

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. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image caption: Dormy House raised infinity pool, designed by Sparcstudio

FEATURE: COVID–19 pandemic is forcing an evolution in wellness

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: COVID–19 pandemic is forcing an evolution in wellness

When we eventually return to ‘normal’ life following the worldwide pandemic of COVID–19, we will all have become acutely aware of how Mother Nature can rapidly alter the status quo and severely affect each and every one of us; where we go, who we see, what we do. Room to Breathe gives Hotel Designs an insight on