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Wyndham Hotels

Top 5 stories of the week: Mountain-mad retreats, chart-topping hotel groups and cliff-hanging hotel design

800 450 Hamish Kilburn

As our month of threading together the latest in fabrics and soft furnishings comes to a close, we wrap up another fast-paced week in the creative world of international hotel design with the top five stories of the last five days…

Following on from the successful Meet Up North networking event we hosted in Manchester’s King Street Townhouse, this week we’ve covered hotel design news from around the world. We’ve seen ambitious plans launching, hotel groups becoming leaders and Hotel Designs has announced its Spotlight On features for August. Here are the top five stories of the week, as selected by editor Hamish Kilburn.

1) Spotlight On: Hotel Concepts and Flooring & Carpets

Throughout August, Hotel Designs will be putting the spotlight on two massively talked-about areas of international hotel design, namely: Hotel Concept and Flooring & Carpets…

2) IHG becomes the UK’s leading luxury hotel operator

The story with the most views this weeks comes from a brand that is taking luxury travel to a new level – and fast! IHG has just been named the UK’s leading luxury hotel operator after a series of shifts and openings. The hotel group has confirmed the UK debut locations for its boutique brand Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants and its recently launched upscale brand, voco™ Hotels. This move follows the announcement made in May of an agreement with Covivio (formerly Foncière des Régions), to rebrand and operate 12 high-quality open hotels in the UK and one pipeline hotel. Nine of the hotels join IHG’s brand portfolio today, making IHG the UK’s leading luxury hotel operator. The remaining three open hotels are anticipated to be added in the coming weeks…

3) Design hotel in the Dolomites will define a new model of mountain luxury hotels

The plan for the new Faloria Mountain Spa Resort, historical glamorous hotel based in Cortina, has finally been unveiled. A new design hotel in the Dolomites, the Faloria Mountain Spa Resort, is said to set a new standard in mountain luxury hotels. The project, signed by the architect Flaviano Capriotti, upgrades the resort to the highest hospitality standards, achieving the fifth star and presenting a new hospitality model: at crossroads between local tradition, innovation and comfort.

4) Opposites attract at Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay

Guestroom image with stunning ocean views

Nestled behind vibrant streets, where thousands of Gap-Year backpackers find shelter in cheap hostels, rises a luxury hotel with personality, style and unmatched ocean views. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to ‘a new kind of luxury’ at the Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay to see for himself how opposites in South East Asia can attract after all…

5) Waldolf Astoria Bangkok prepares for ‘Asia’s most anticipated hotel openings this year’

Image credit: AFSO

The anticipated opening of Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, designed by the award-winning André Fu is said to evolve the hotel landscape in Southeast Asia. The end of August will see the opening of what is said to be Asia’s most anticipated hotel openings of 2018. The grand Waldorf Astoria in Bangkok, meticulously designed by, André Fu, from AFSO who was named Designer of the Year for Maison & Objet Asia in 2016, captures the brand’s iconic image in the vibrant Thai capital.

Opposites attract at Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay

800 533 Hamish Kilburn

Nestled behind vibrant streets, where thousands of Gap-Year backpackers find shelter in cheap hostels, rises a luxury hotel with personality, style and unmatched ocean views. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to the Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay to see for himself how opposites in South East Asia can attract after all…

Perched on a hilltop facing south, with Phuket’s Patong Beach to the left, Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay’s location was certainly not compromised when local architect Rachapuk Sungkhaphunt from Greenity Co. Ltd designed the foundations of what was said to be ‘a new kind of luxury’ away from the wild, bustling and polluted streets behind Patong Beach.

Exterior of the hotel

Image caption: Exterior of the hotel

Opened in December 2016, the hotel offers 214 elegantly appointed guestrooms and private villas as well as large public areas throughout. The hotel’s structure was thoughtfully designed using the natural landscape as a tool to stagger the individual blocks so that from all corners of the hotel, guests can marvel over the sweeping ocean vistas that extend over the Andaman Sea.

Guestroom image with stunning ocean views

Image caption: The hotel has been designed to capture striking views of the A Sea

Approachable by design, simplicity, minimalism and copious amount of space, interior designer Voravee Puranasamriddhi from Bangkok-based firm 1328 Pt Ltd led the interiors throughout the hotel. Vast emptiness and unused space captured my first impressions of the public areas. That’s because at first there is little to see, as the finest areas are rightfully to be enjoyed by guests only, and clearly detached from the loud streets across the bay.

Tall floor-to-ceiling glass doors open into a refined, elegant space

Designed to reflect more of a terminal than a lobby, the first building guests walk into when checking in on the ground floor is bare and offers just enough facilities for a member of staff to tick you off the list and direct you on. It shelters a constant flow of traffic and once guests have been filtered through this system they are picked up by a car and driven to the main lobby, which is situated three floors above the first terminal.

Unlike the main entrance, the lobby is striking with a strong, solid check-in desk sat in the middle of a modern, light and airy room. Tall floor-to-ceiling glass doors open into a refined and elegant space, while intricate wallcoverings, designed to replicate corral, burst with personality. The furniture is simple yet comfortable with under-seat lighting reflecting off the ceramic flooring.

Image caption: Lobby area

All guestrooms and suites are Asian-inspired with a modern touch. Wooden floors, warm colours and floor-to-ceiling windows create a blissful sanctuary allowing guests to unwind and take in the jaw-dropping views.

A control panel next to the large bed allows guests to personalise the ambiance to suit every mood

Offering by far, though, the most luxurious experience is the Luxury Private Pool Villa Panoramic Ocean View, which sit in the middle of the complex. Designed to blend Asian decor with Western, modern, spacious living – complete with a private infinity pool and decking – the abode allows you to enjoy the panoramic vistas of the bay from a premium perspective – whether that be on the balcony or on the edge of your own infinity pool, accessible from the decking, the living room and the large bathroom.

Image caption:  Luxury Private Pool Villa Panoramic Ocean View

Each of the resort’s 152 pool villas, the most in the Kalim-Patong area, feature a private outdoor sundeck and a six- or nine-metre infinity pools overlooking the ocean, providing guests checking in with privacy and seclusion as well as ultimate comfort and relaxation.

The lighting in the room is tasteful and well-designed. A control panel next to the large bed allows guests to personalise the ambiance to suit every mood. In addition to spotlight lighting, two pendants hang from the ceiling either side of the large bed. This, I believe, adds another dimension to the minimalist setup.

The bathrooms are large and again offer unmatched views through floor-to-ceiling windows that open completely so that the panoramic view is never sacrificed. A large twin tub sits above the infinity pool. Next to it is the walk-in rainfall shower. Above the large twin sink is an oversized mirror that reflects a spacious home-away-from-home feel.

Outside seating area at L'atitude 98 restaurant

Image caption: Outside seating area at L’atitude 98 restaurant

Dining at Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay has been designed to capture a multisensorial experience with two restaurants serving authentic Thai cuisine and international favourites amidst breathtaking sea views.

What I respect most about this hotel is that it may be a stones throw away from provocative streets of Patong Beach, but it is worlds away from the ‘in your face’ attitude that’s evident across the bay.

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts now has more than 9,000 properties worldwide. Recently, Hotel Designs sat down with the new Managing Director (EMEA) to discover what the next chapter for the hotel group looks like.

 

Top 5 stories of the week: Meet Up success, interview with Wyndham and designing with purpose

1024 684 Hamish Kilburn

Editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn reflects on a busy week in the world of international hotel design with the top five stories…

“Manchester is a shrinking violet,” said no designer, ever! This week, we invited you up to Manchester to take part in our tried and tested networking event! The inaugural Meet Up North was a complete success in further bridging the gap between hoteliers, architects, interior designers and key-industry suppliers. If you haven’t already done so, check out our facebook page where you can see all the images from the evening.

As well as socialising in one of Manchester’s hottest hotels, I also found the time to sit down with Dimitris Manikis who is the new Managing Director of Wyndham Hotels (EMEA). Aside from having what I believe to be the coolest glasses in the industry, Manikis also has some big plans for the brand and his energetic personality, I feel, will steer him in the right direction as the brand enters a new exciting chapter.

As well as all this, contributor Michelle Tonta explained why designers should be designing with purpose…

1) HD Meet Up North took hotel design networking in the north to new heights

Image caption: Tangerine Photobooths

On Wednesday, more than 200 of the industry’s leaders and visionaries from within the hotel design gathered on the terrace of King Street Townhouse in Manchester for the first ever Meet Up North. Sponsored by Marca Corona, the event, which boasted an unparalleled perspective of the Manchester sunset, welcomed hoteliers, architects, interior designers and key-industry suppliers.

2) In conversation with: Dimitris Manikis, President and Managing Director (EMEA) for Wyndham Hotel Group

Left: Dimitris Manikis Right: Hamish Kilburn

Left: Dimitris Manikis Right: Hamish Kilburn

I met Manikis in a quaint, tucked-away boutique hotel in Soho, London. Wearing what I believe to be the most fabulous glasses in the industry, Manikis’ beaming ear-to-ear smile led me to believe that I would click with him instantly. My first impressions of Manikis was that of surprise. Surprised that someone can remain so calm while carrying the weight of 460 hotels in more than 40 markets in the EMEA (and counting) on his shoulders. We both laughed as we compared glasses and sat down to discuss how he plans to maximise the performance of the group.

3) Designing fabrics and soft furnishings with purpose

Threading together design and sustainability, textiles expert Michelle Tonta explains why sustainable development should be on the minds of all designers when innovating new fabrics, soft furnishings and even flooring.

4) Art, heritage and culture sheltered in one of Europe’s first Hyatt Centric hotel

The interior design of the newly opened Hyatt Centric Gran Via Madrid seamlessly blends art, heritage and culture. The new lifestyle brand from Hyatt has entered the European market with a five-star hotel developed from a historical city landmark built in 1920’s located on the famous Gran Via.

5) Serious five-star soft furnishings goals

All month, Hotel Designs is shining the spotlight on Soft Furnishings, Fabrics and Textiles. Here are some five-star examples of hotels that nailed their soft furnishings first time around…

If you would like to be kept up to date with the latest happenings and news in international hotel design, subscribe to receiving our newsletter here.

 

 

In conversation with: Dimitris Manikis, President and Managing Director (EMEA) for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

800 502 Hamish Kilburn

Hotel Designs Editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with Dimitris Manikis, the new Managing Director (EMEA) of  Wyndham Hotels & Resorts to find out more about how he plans to expand the brand as it enters a new chapter…

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, the hospitality giant with more than 9,000 hotels worldwide, recently announced the appointment of Dimitris Manikis as the company’s new President and Managing Director for Europe, Middle East, Eurasia and Africa (EMEA).

I met Manikis in a quaint, tucked-away boutique hotel in Soho, London. Wearing what I believe to be the most fabulous glasses in the industry, Manikis’ beaming ear-to-ear smile led me to believe that I would click with him instantly. My first impressions of Manikis was that of surprise. Surprised that someone can remain so calm while carrying the weight of 460 hotels in more than 40 markets in the EMEA (and counting) on his shoulders. We both laughed as we compared glasses and sat down to discuss how he plans to maximise the performance of the group.

Left: Dimitris Manikis Right: Hamish Kilburn

Left: Dimitris Manikis, President and Managing Director (EMEA) for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Right: Hamish Kilburn, Editor Hotel Designs

Hamish Kilburn: What are the Wyndham Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ unique selling points?

Dimitris Manikis: Our brand cannot be replicated. For us, we want to keep the authenticity. We want that to reflect in a way that can marry various cultures and locations. Wyndham Grand in Athens, for example, has a beautiful rooftop bar that overlooks the acropolis. You cannot have an acropolis anywhere in the world. Design is absolutely crucial for our brand. We actually have an Architecture, Innovation and Design team who work in-house, which allows us to continue to create twists in our hotel narratives.

I think, through our USPs, we have helped to make travel more affordable in a very consistent manner.

Wyndham Grand Athens

Image credit: Wyndham Grand Athens

We introduced a soft brand – in terms of allowing properties to have their own attitude and personality. The design-centric Trademark is a brand that is very close to our hearts here in Europe. It’s a brand where you do not box the property into a standard category. We allow each hotel to have its own personality and authenticity, but we allow the team at the hotel the opportunity to piggyback on the group’s distribution and reputation.

HK: What are the basic requirements that guests want when checking in to a hotel?

DM: For them to smile and for them to be happy to be there. We feel, as a franchise model, that we give the owners the flexibility to use the destination as the backdrop and the inspiration.

We want our guests to feel as if they are checking in to a home-from-home, and also that the Wyndham brand is giving them all of their needs to meet the basic requirements of the company DNA (safety, service, etc). Only then can we focus on the add-ons to make our guests feel special. It’s not easy, but our individuality is our key!

DM: I’m not supposed to ask questions, but I will ask anyway. So in your job, what makes you say, ‘that hotel works’?

HK: Do you know what’s really interesting? So many hotels open every day, all over the world. My job is to try to find gems; the hotels that are really worth writing about. Soon after finding a gem, I want to know all about the design story. For example, I reviewed a hotel once that was reopening in Sierra Nirvana in Spain. It wasn’t the location that captured my attention so much than the story behind the renovation. The hotel had in fact burnt down. The same design company that was involved in the original build was commissioned back, and that was the angle for me. It was like watching the hotel rise from the ashes! It was also fascinating to find out which elements the design company changed in the redesign, almost as if they were given a second chance to improve it to create the perfect hotel. The result was amazing!

Wyndham Grand Phuket, Kalim Bay

Image caption: Wyndham Grand Phuket, Kalim Bay

HK: Who is your biggest inspiration?

DM: My dad. He’s the only person I know who does not have a passport. In fact, he has never left Greece.

HK: Where, from a location point of view, is of most interest at the moment?

DM: Honestly, I think everywhere that planes fly to. Our brand is very diverse and that includes opening hotels in tier 2 cities, which we believe is a huge opportunity.

HK: With all the stories in the wider press about Turkey, does the region create any concern for the hotel brand when it comes to opening new properties?

DM: I can tell you that our hotels in Turkey are doing extremely well. We are growing at a fast rate, with 65 properties in Turkey alone, and growing, we are one of the major hotel brands in the region. People will not stop travelling. Where ever travelers go, we plan to be there with a Wyndham hotel to welcome them.

Guestroom at Wyndham Istanbul Kalamis Marina

Image caption: Wyndham Istanbul Kalamis Marina

HK: What advice do you have for people starting out in this industry? 

DM: My personal motto is to have ‘Ethos, pathos and logos’, which translates to ethos, passion and logic. If you have passion, add logic and have a strong, positive ethos then you cannot go wrong, in my opinion.

HK: How did you get into hospitality? 

DM: I originally wanted to study history and psychology in Greece, but someone persuaded me to go into business. I did four years at university studying business before I met the general manager at the Intercontinental in Athens. I applied to be a trainee. I was there for one year and six months. I cleaned more glasses and peeled more potatoes than most people would clean and peel in a lifetime. However, I learnt so much. I remember the GM, he was amazing! He used to carry his notebook around like a John major and had such a grand aura around him. For me, a 22-year-old aspiring to one day be a GM, he was gold. After that, I decided to ditch business to work in hospitality. I came to the UK to study tourism. The rest, as they say, is history – although I’m still not a GM!

As we wrap up our meeting, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to work with Dimitris. The man in retro-orange glasses also had an aura around him – one that was fun, fair and full of energy for the brand.

 

Wyndham Athens Residence marks Wyndham Hotels & Resorts seventh hotel in Greece

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Wyndham Athens Residence in Greece shelters 89 fully equipped apartment-style suites…

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Zeus International have announced the opening of Wyndham Athens Residence, located in the heart of the Greek capital, on Karaiskaki Square in the Metaxourghio neighbourhood of Athens. Wyndham Athens Residence is Wyndham Hotels & Resorts seventh property in Greece, and the company’s first mixed-use hospitality development in the country.

Wyndham Athens Residence opens featuring a total of 89 fully equipped apartment-style suites, following an extensive renovation and redesign project by hotel management company, Zeus International. Each new guestroom offers a modern and functional design that combines traditional hotel suite design with amenities such as a mini kitchenette, a convertible sofa sleeper, espresso machine and luxurious bathroom products. Flexible connecting rooms, which are easily converted into two-bedroom apartments, make Wyndham Athens Residence a family-friendly option.

Modern facilities at Wyndham Athens Residence also include a business corner, concierge services, smart access with mobile app, VIP check in, a fully equipped fitness centre and a roof top bar and restaurant located on the 6th floor with a stunning view of Athens, Lycabettus and Karaiskaki Square where guests can enjoy a sumptuous breakfast buffet in the morning and snacks, light meals, healthy smoothies and juices at noon and night. Guests can also make the most of the exceptional facilities of the neighbouring Wyndham Grand Athens, including the outdoor pool, spa, parking and restaurants.

“All over the world Greece is known for its historic tradition, vibrant culture and enviable coastlines. With a wealth of fabulous destinations, rich attractions and dramatic coastlines, Greece has something to offer to every type of traveller,” said Dimitris Manikis, President & Managing Director for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in EMEA. “We are incredibly optimistic about the long-term outlook for Greece’s hospitality sector, and today we are so proud to announce the opening of our seventh, and first mixed-use property in the country, just 18 months after Wyndham Hotels & Resorts first debuted in Greece with the opening of Wyndham Grand Athens.”

Hotel Designs’ editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with Dimitris Manikis, President & Managing Director for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in EMEA. Full article is coming soon…