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THE WORLD’S MOST GLAMOROUS HOTELS


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15 editorial 16 Sunrise Hotel, West Indies 26 Spicers’ Balfour Hotel, Australia


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34 Barcelo Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, Costa Blanca 44 Corinthia Hotel, UK 54 Chewton Glen Treehouse Suites, UK


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64 Chalet Atlantique, France 74 The Ampersand, UK 84 Next Issue


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I can’t think of a more pleasurable issue to put t o g e t h e r than The World’s Most Glamorous Hotels, as I sit in my office flicking through the pages of this year’s issue, I think the projects are more than just inspirational from a design perspective, they also remind me that I need a holiday. I think that design books such as this are really ‘dreamy‘ books, which is probably their appeal. They are more than a series of wonderful projects, we can take ideas and guidance from; they are a real three-dimensional

place, sure we can look at them in awe but we can also visit them. We can actually stay there and experience the design scheme first hand. This year all projects are award winning design schemes, by leading designers from throughout the world - as voted for by you and thousands of industry professionals in The International Design & Architecture Awards. These are the 2012 winning projects and they are as varied in style as they are in scope, with projects ranging from a Brisbane hotel to a beach residence in Mustique, London city hotels both contemporary and classic to a ski residence in Courcheval and more. I do hope you enjoy viewing and visiting on your global travels. Joanne


Sunrise Hotel, West Indies By Michael Reeves

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In 2012, Michael Reeves Associates won an International Hotel & Property Award with the entry of their project, Sunrise Hotel, in the Beach Residence category. The project, led by Interior Designer Michael Reeves, consisted of both the interior and exterior design for the 7 bed house and beach cottage which now sits on a hillside on the beautiful Mustique Island in the West Indies. The property, which is just a short stroll from the famous Macaroni Beach and Pasture Bay, provides the perfect setting for luxurious relaxation. With breathtaking views of the Caribbean sea, the design brief for this project was, as Michael Reeves tells us, for a look of “faded grandeur” with maximum comfort, privacy and high technology; to be “at home” to an international guest clientele. According to Michael the owners did not want a “beachy or a hotel feeling”, but more of a “grown-up pared down atmosphere”. The house, which includes a fully equiped media room and fitness suite, is surrounded by gardens adorned with tropical flowers and fruit trees as well as terraces providing those essential panoramic views of the caribbean sea. It even benefits from an outdoor all weather tennis court. These outdoor areas are integral to the success of the project, with the Caribbean climate demanding that the exterior setting is focused on arguably as much as the interior of the property. Infinity pool, dining and seating areas along with an organic vegetable, herb and spice garden complete this outdoor tropical paradise. The challenge of furnishing the site, which Michael Reeves Associates and Belgian design and production house, Sempre, supplied the furniture and accessories for, was overcome in a rather unique way. We learn from Michael that “the location meant that every single item for the ‘turn-key’ property had to be imported by a small boat, from paint to tiles, bed linen to tea spoons, literally everything”. Michael tells us that his favourite aspect of the project has to be “the fabulous and exclusive location of Mustique, with a virtually private beach”. This property is one of only a few on the island to benefit from its own white sand beach, which,

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along with the tropical gardens, makes the setting for this beach residence truly magnificent. This beach is also the grounds for two beach cottages, one with luxury bedroom suite and the other providing an independent living space, complete with living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. For guests who stay here, there is another swimming pool as well as further outdoor dining and seating areas. With a project like this, it is easy to see why the design works so well. For Michael, the design is successful because the property has a total “calm” feeling which, as he continues, is “due to the colours used and the seamless flow from inside to outdoors”. There is an elegant simplicity about this design, and it is simplicity Michael talks about when we ask him what he feels the key influencing elements are in design at present. “We are finding a reduction in the number of clients who want very high-technology gadgetry in their homes”, Michael remarks, “efficient simplicity is key, without the overkill. Comfort, luxury and quiet glamour are what we are concentrating on at present and achieving more individuality for each client”. With this is mind, we ask what direction Michael feels design is moving towards in general terms. He tells us, “I do not have the feeling that design is moving in any one particular direction. I am personally bored with ‘trends’ and ‘directional’ design. On one side I see a new simplicity emerging, NOT minimalism, and on the other a new bold theatricality based on a truly eclectic mix of elements”. Michael feels the International Hotel & Property awards are important “to showcase and share projects with like-minded designers”. His company is currently working on what he describes as a “mixed bag” of projects. In London, he is working on houses in Knightsbridge and Docklands, a penthouse in W2 and a “terrific” contemporary “studio” house near Portobello Road, among others. The company have also been working in China recently and have begun a project in Delhi, India. In the mean time, Michael tells us that the 5 key essentials for the coming years are “sustainability, comfort, glamour, efficiency and luck”.


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Spicers’ Balfour Hotel, Australia by Coop Creative

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An Interior Design firm based in Queensland, Australia, and specialising in bespoke residential and commericial interiors, Coop Creative was named the winner of the International Hotel & Property Awards 2012 with the entry of the Spicers’ Balfour Hotel in the Hotel (under 50 rooms) category. The Spicers’ Balfour Hotel, located on an inner city residential street in Brisbane, Australia, is a sophisticated private hotel. The original 1910 guest house was adapted to provide intimate high-end accommodation for professionals tired of the usual 5 star offerings. It features 9 elegantly appointed rooms all with their own unique architectural feature. The Spicers’ Balfour Hotel serves a sophisticated and specialised clientele; staying at “Balfour” is like living in a large manor house with traditional attendant staff. Personal service, comfort, beautiful interiors and efficient planning informs the hotel’s dialogue. Rowena Cornwell, director of Coop Creative, says that the design brief was “to create a destination with the comfort and welcoming feel of home, but the class and character of a luxury international hotel”. With Brisbane lacking a truly first-class, luxurious boutique hotel catering for business travellers, Balfour drew inspiration from first-class innovative hotels in the UK and New York. In order to create such a unique hotel, the design aspects needed to be original and creative. This is evident the moment you arrive, with a seamless check in process in place so that guests are taken straight to their room after a long day of work or travel. With no front desk, a security door and twenty-four hour butler service, the hotel thinks outside of the box of traditional hotel processes to make guests feel at home. When we ask Rowena to tell us more about her favourite and key aspects of the project, we learn that in the redesign of this building, the original central hallway was maintained, acting as a classic buffer between the public spaces to the north, and the guestrooms to the south. In the guest rooms the ceilings are manipulated to form an energetic internal topography, with each guest greeted by their own lobby space, including functional work areas. As Rowena explains, “the suites offer an eclectic mix of highly controlled new and old pieces. Nostalgic references sit juxtaposed against classic elements; the cocoon encourages the guest to unwind”. The palates of materials used within the hotel are described as “modern and refined”. Ebonised timber, plush velvets and slouchy linens exist within the detailing which references the deco period. “The discreet overlay of pattern and movement was integral to maintaining a peaceful and tranquil environment”, comments Rowena. The interior, designed to develop an aged patina plays with shadow; the internal palette of mink, purple and grey highlight a rich and often ethereal contrast to the

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penetrating natural light. When it comes to Balfour dining, there are a number of options available for a first-class experience. Guests can escape the hustle and bustle of the city with intimate dining at the onsite restaurant, the Balfour dining room, where the Chef always delights with mouthwatering temptations. the Balfour room also provides a space for private dinners. By day this equisite room is perfect for inner city Brisbane conferences for up to18 discerning delegates with full butler service and up to the minute audio-visual equipment. By night the room changes, with mirrors hiding the equipment to transform the room into an elegant dining space. Guests can also choose an outdoor eating option with a courtyard dining experience, sitting in café style furniture amongst the garden or the grand wrap-around veranda for a more homely feel. A rooftop dining experience is also offered exclusively to guests or for special events, with high bar tables and stools arranged in the outdoor lounge area of the bar. Open 24 hours, the hotel’s Bridge Bar serves canapés to all guests between 6pm and 7pm daily, and offers a spectacular view of Brisbane’s city skyline. With a library which offers a contemporary lounge environment with an eclectic colour palette, and a day spa offering guests a range of massage and beauty treatments, this hotel epitomises luxury. The public corridors are serviced by “Art Balfour” a collaborative initiative with Jan Manton Art. Each quarter a new show is hung ensuring repeat clientele are given the opportunity to experience the latest in Australian art trends. In addition, the hotel offers an impressive array of luxury extras, including valet parking, complimentary car transfers for VIP guests, 24 hour Butler & Room service, and even a room guarantee which means customers can request their preferred room, an option designed for regular business travellers who are said to feel more relaxed staying in their regular room. Finally, we ask Rowena why the design of the hotel works so well. Rowena comments, “Spicers’ Balfour Hotel is an authentic and distinct departure from the numerous generic, super-modern hotels in the area. The exclusive accommodation offers 9 rooms, private/ function dining facilities, a rooftop bar and gym”. According to Rowena, extensive planning was required to maintain the charm and integrity of the original Queenslander; to meet council restrictions it was important to maintain the cultural heritage and not impose on any adjacent buildings. Rowena continues, “the maximum 18 guests inhabit the hotel as if it is their own home. The subtle presence of one design team’s control is felt as you move within. The rhythm of the spaces, the play of light and shade and the constant manipulation of the scale collectively reinforces a unique guest experience. The final resolution of the hotel breaks away from the recent trend in hospitality design, there is no theme and the luxury is understated”.


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Barcelo Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, Costa Blanca by Barcelo Hotel & Resorts

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Winner of the International Hotel & Property Awards 2012 in the Hotel Spa category, Barcelo Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, submitted by Barcelo Hotel & Resorts, is an Asian inspired and designed resort which brings the South-East of Asia to Spain. Leading European Interior design brand, Becara, worked alongside Marbella-based architect, Cristian Larrain, to create this resort in the slopes of the Mediterranean white coast. Located in Alicante, Costa Blanca, this 5* hotel and spa aims to bring a corner of Asia to the Mediterranean coast, not only through its architecture, landscaping and decoration but just as importantly through its spirit, energy and special magic, fulfilling the dreams of westerners. The project, completed in July 2008, was a new construction on a plot of 200,000 sq.m. The land which the project has been designed for has steep slopes from North to South with spectacular views of the Mediterranean stretching out far into the distance. It was important during the design of the hotel to ensure a large majority of the rooms were able to enjoy these wonderful views. The location allows for an air of spirituality in the hotel, something which hhas always been characteristic of the Far East. In the daytime the hotel basks in the strong Mediterranean sun and, after nightfall, the hotel takes on a completely different atmosphere with indirect and evocative lighting relaxing the spirit of the place, adding an air of magic and mystery. All of this is key to producing the Asian experience within the hotel grounds. Inside, The interior finishings harmonise perfectly with the concept and architectural design of the project. The beauty and quality of the materials used in the interiors are of a very high standard which, together with the decoration, reproduce Asia without leaving Europe. Inside the hotel, the laminated wood in the lobby has the appearance of beams, transmitting a certain air of traditional warmth. This is the largest wooden structure designed for a hotel or residential property in Spain, and possibly in Europe. The magic and mystery of the hotel were a heavy influence on the design process, with the client ideally needing two or three days to discover all that the hotel has to offer. Although the lobby can be seen from the porch, if the client walks through it they will discover the countless corners of the hotel. Through this gateway unfolds secret

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restaurants which can only be entered by passing through exuberant vegetation, as well as hidden swimming pools and the Spa accessed via a 30m wooden walkway above water. One of the main design challenges for the project was the horizontal construction of the hotel over a large surface area on different levels. This complicated achieving an efficient and viable flow of movement for the good operation of the hotel and the comfort of the clients. It was, therefore, vitally important to harmonise the buildings with the open spaces through the landscaping with extensive use of water in the form of ponds, waterfalls, springs and fountains. The swimming pools were another challenge as their shape and the materials used also had to evoke the spirit and feel of South-Eastern Asia. In keeping with the hotel’s Asian influence, the creation of luxuriant tropical gardens was felt to be essential for this project to truly evoke the theme. Unfortunately, The poor quality of the soil on the site made this seem impossible. However, this was corrected by removing the existing earth to a depth of one metre and replacing it with one metre of adequate topsoil. Another aspect to consider was that there are more than one hundred different varieties of plants within these gardens, some of which take seven years to acclimatise. In order to ensure that the majority of the gardens would be mature and luxuriant when the hotel was opened, a nursery was established on site three years previously, allowing the plants and trees to grow and flourish. As a result of this meticulous planning, you can now find lush, fragrant oriental gardens coupled with meandering water features which cascade down through the resort. Surrounded by an idillyc Asian ambience with soothing sounds and eastern scents, the microclimate and heated outdoor pools offer guests the unique experience of enjoying this calm and relaxing atmosphere all year round. Maria Gudiel of Barcelo comments, “the design and concept are unique in this environment; putting together architecture and garden design to create a complete Asian atmosphere in Spain”. From the incredible lush gardens to the 3,500m2 landscape of infinity pools, all of this makes a visit to the garden resemble a trip to the Asian continent, and guests will discover new surprises each time they visit this little piece of Asia in a Mediterranean setting.


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Corinthia Hotel, UK by GA Design International

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Known as a home for European royalty and London Society’s elite, the Corinthia Hotel is a 294 room, five star hotel in Whitehall, perfectly positioned overlooking the River Thames and Trafalgar Square. Former headquarters for the Ministry of Defence for seventy years, it was originally built as the Metropole Hotel in 1885. Winner in The International Hotel & Property Awards 2012 in the Hotel over 200 room category, it was renowned interior architects, GA Design International, who undertook three years of meticulous refurbishment in order to restore the building into the recently opened, luxury five star hotel we have today. Headed by Terry McGinty, Managing Director of GA Design International who specialise in Hospitality Design, the project was what he described as a “rare and unique gift”, in that the decades of Ministry of Defence use resulted in there being no heritage listing on the building. The core objective was to leave the exterior unaltered, but the challenge lay internally, as GA were faced with trying to identify the base structure and recognise its potential amidst the previous aestheticsfree adjustments and insertions which Terry described as “chaotic”. He continues, “The entire building was a warren of temporary partitions and lowered ceilings: an interior courtyard, which had been enclosed, was completely unidentifiable – the dimensions were only truly realised following meticulous study of the building’s original plans”. In keeping with the tradition of the building, the design is sympathetic to both its location and history. The bronze clad detailing on the lift doors are cast from moulds of actual leaves found within St. James Park and the first Harrods’ hotel store is located off the lobby, with arriving guests greeted at reception with a 9sqm bronze artwork featuring the river Thames meandering through London and a true replica of each building on its banks. A grand four metrehigh Baccarat chandelier designed by Chafik Gasmi was commissioned for the glass domed lobby with 1001 crystal baubles reflecting natural light which pours through the colonnade surrounding the internal courtyard; this hidden green oasis is a first amongst the leading hotels of the London scene. Leading through the classical elegantly proportioned corridors featuring original detailing and modern sculptures is the Northall Restaurant. Celebrating the best of British artisanal produce and helmed by a Michelin star chef, it is a bright and airy space designed to reflect traditional detailing and daring color. The mezzanine level which can act as a private dining area is high up

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in the coffered ceiling and affords a bird’s eye view of the rich splendor below. Terry describes how, initially, there were 600 original Metropole Hotel rooms on the guestroom floors, which GA reduced and configured along the original corridor footprint. Combing two rooms into one for every standard double gives an average floor plan area of almost 46.5sqm – among the largest in London. Calcatta marble from Tuscany is used and features heavily within the bathrooms which are afforded natural light. Most rooms feature a walk-in wardrobe clad with cow hide and French oak. Bespoke cocktail cabinets, oversized sofas and a study area placed next to the fireplace welcome guests to a familiar, residential feel. All of this, however, is only the beginning when it comes to soaking in all that this hotel has to offer. Two storeys, 470sqm with two bedrooms, a gym, spa and wine cellar, this is the Royal Suite. London’s largest suite and one of thirteen individually designed suites in the hotel which take their identity from that of notable individuals, it is placed within one of the original turret roofs and featuring a wrap around terrace with fire pit it affords the occupants a 180 degree views from Parliament to Canary Wharf. One of the most luxurious features of the new Corinthia Hotel, is award winning company ESPA’s new flagship spa; the largest spa facility in Europe. At 3,300sqm over 4 floors, Terry comments, “We created separate floors for male and female relaxation including saunas, treatment pods, relaxation chambers, luxurious changing facilities all flowing down to state of the art gym, stainless steel lined swimming pool area complete with large plunge pool and sunken glass covered sauna”. There are seventeen treatment rooms in total, offering a combination of complementary and alternative treatments alongside cosmetic and fitness treatments. Twelve fireplaces are also arranged around the entire spa, complimenting the oyster-coloured shagreen walls and highlighting the richness and luxuriousness of this exclusive enclave. On top of this there are also fifteen state of the art technology rooms, not to mention the grand Victorian ballroom, which has had its original features uncovered and restored, as well as the walls clad with mirrors and crystal chandeliers hanging once again. The reconstruction of what was originally the grand Victorian Metropole Hotel has resulted in what is now an iconic, 21st century, five star flagship hotel for Corinthia Hotels, and the epitome of luxury.


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Chewton Glen Treehouse Suites, UK by Martin Hulbert Designs

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“We appreciate clients who are a little like ourselves: open-minded and wanting something special”. This is how Martin Hulbert, director of Martin Hulbert Designs, describes his team’s work approach at the award-winning Interior Design company. This “something special”, as Martin says, is certainly visible in MHD’s 2012 project; the Chewton Glen Tree House Suites. Headed by Martin, the project was the winner of the International Hotel & Property awards 2012 in the hotel suite category. The property, situated in the New Forest of Hampshire, consists of twelve tree house suites of varying sizes, all with large private outdoor spaces. MHD pride themselves on “unique” design, with bespoke design companies Atlantic Contract Interiors and Forgeability their key suppliers for the project. We interviewed Martin to find out more about this intriguing property, completed in July 2012 with architect Terence O’Rourke. Martin, can you tell us more about the design brief you were given for this project? “I was asked to create the brief myself, to fit with the environment alongside Chewton Glen. The design builds on the idea of the suites being places of escape, with an other-worldly and almost whimsical quality to them. They are a tranquil oasis where guests can truly relax and indulge themselves in peace and quiet. They are also adaptable spaces, designed with both couples and families in mind. The concept for the interiors is one of discreet luxury combined with an individuality influenced by their setting. A clean and contemporary look is integrated into a design that draws on the environment outside. The fabrics and furnishings incorporate layers of texture and rich earthy colours inspired by the trees and plants of Chewton Glen”. Why do you think the design works so well? “The spaces are very calm, peaceful and comfortable. They do not jar with the environment they sit in”. What would you say was your favourite aspect of this project? “The suites’ connection between inside and outside and the magical quality of floating among the trees”. Any final thoughts about this project? “The project has been such a joy. The client

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allowed me to produce and see through a scheme that is true to the design concept. They and everyone else at Chewton Glen and the builders and contractors too have made the experience a real pleasure”. Following on from the success of Chewton Glen, we also spoke to Martin about his current projects, asking him for his own thoughts and advice on hospitality design in general. In your opinion, what direction do you feel hospitality design is moving towards? “I believe hospitality design is moving towards more individuality, greater informality and less ostentation”. What projects are you working on at the moment? “My design team and I are currently working on a restaurant in Moscow and several residential projects in London and Italy. I am also at an early stage of a redesign of a 5-star hotel in England”. A designer’s work is so diverse – how do you manage to hold down a career and a life? “Holding down a career and a life is a challenge for most people, not just designers. However I find the creative process involved in my design projects provides me with stimulation and adrenalin that help to keep me going”. What would you say are the key essentials for 2012 and beyond? “Encouraging new design talent and originality are for me the key essentials for 2012 and beyond”. If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be? “My one piece of advice for design schemes is to ensure they are true to the architectural proportions of buildings”. And finally, what are your aims and goals for the coming year? “Without meaning to sound pompous, my aims and goals for the next 12 months are to continue to create good quality, elegant and extremely comfortable interiors”. The Chewton Glen property is, in Martin’s opinion, his “best hotel”. Martin also tells us, however, that his latest project is always his favourite; we are looking forward to seeing which one is next...


Chalet Atlantique, France by Earlcrown

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A luxury project management and design house, Chief Executive Bianca Ladow of EarlCrown says that the company’s objective is “to create pieces of history that will last for generations to come”. Winner of the International Hotel and Property Awards 2012 in the Ski Hotel/Chalet category, EarlCrown’s ‘Chalet Atlantique’ looks set to be one of those pieces. Located in an exclusive area of Courchevel 1850, France, Chalet Atlantique is the ultimate home for relaxing and entertaining. Just a short stroll to the piste, the snow covered exterior provides a beautiful backdrop and a stark contrast to the rustic charm that lies within the interior. Adorned with fur and leather original furnishings and open log fires, this property is full of character and warmth. The aim for the project was to set a new level of luxury for residential property design. EarlCrown created the interior architecture and design of the project, working in conjunction with leading French interior designer Noelle Bonnemaison, who designed the interiors of the Saint Roche Hotel in Courchevel and La Tartane in St Tropez. “The vision was to create a chalet whose quality and style would set a new level of luxury for Courchevel residential property, which is already of a world-class standard”, Bianca tells us. Benefiting from panoramic mountain views, the chalet is set in landscaped gardens and is accessed via a private drive. It provides 4,359 sqft (405 sqm) of luxurious living space set over four different levels. EarlCrown extended and remodelled the large existing chalet by over 2,153 sqft (200 sqm) during the project, transforming it into a true super-prime residence, using the finest stone and timber built in traditional style. The Internal architecture was also completely reconfigured to include luxury leisure facilities. In addition to the main living space and bedroom suites, there is also an after dinner open bar, private cinema, gymnasium and fitness suite, sauna, massage area and haman, making this a stylish property filled with numerous opportunities for entertainment as well as relaxation. On entering the large main living room

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you are presented with an open feature log fireplace and exposed wooden beams lining the ceiling. The entire property benefits from open log fireplaces like this one, with exposed brick chimneys and feature stone walls as well as ceilings open to the ridge height, and large wooden beams throughout, all in keeping with the traditional style of the property. Through the living room you can access a large outdoor area, with French doors opening onto a spacious heated terrace. The outdoor area of the property provides another world of luxury, boasting a spectacular outside leisure deck along with a sunken Jacuzzi providing sweeping mountain views. Moving upstairs inside the chalet, we find the Master bedroom on its own private floor, with four further VIP guest bedroom suites beyond. The Master suite comes with its own open fire as well as a bathroom complete with rain shower and deep tub. The bathroom is where we find Bianca’s favourite part of the project, unsurprisingly in the unique design of the bath tub which is furnished in cow-hide. Bianca describes it as “quirky” and “a design statement with a wow factor”. This “quirky” theme continues throughout the property, with the bedrooms and living room also furnished with various animal print designs. EarlCrown pride themselves on creating fully furnished living spaces ready to live in and this project is no exception with every detail covered to an exceptional standard. EarlCrown installed lifts to connect each floor of the property as well as under floor heating, new security systems and CC TV security. There is even a brand new commercial caterer’s kitchen to facilitate grand entertaining, something the property is undeniably well-equipped for. When we ask Bianca why she feels the property works so well she tells us it is down to “the unity of the interior, which feels decadent yet in keeping with its location, combined with state of the art facilities”. Bianca’s own comment on the chalet is, perhaps, the most appropriate and uncomplicated description of the awardwinning design project. As she comments, “the design provides true versatility; whether throwing a party or relaxing in the home spa, it’s the home with everything!”


The Ampersand, UK by Dexter Moren Associates

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Dexter Moren Associates is a London based design practice offering urban design, architecture and interior design. Since its establishment in 1992 the practice has completed a wide range of projects including offices, shopping centres, mixed tenure housing, urban renewal developments and has developed a reputation as one of London’s leading hotel & leisure architects. The practice aims to deliver intelligent, innovative and sustainable solutions whilst ensuring a collaborative and responsive approach tailored to the aspirations of its clients. In 2012, DMA won The International Hotel and Property Awards in the hotel (50-200) rooms category with their redesign of The Ampersand Hotel. Built in 1888, The Ampersand Hotel is one of London’s original Victorian boutique hotels. Having undergone a comprehensive refurbishment & re-plan with DMA, this new 111 bedroom hotel includes five balconied suites, an artisanal coffee lounge and patisserie as well as a destination cocktail bar and dining experience on the lower ground floor. DMA’s design concept draws inspiration from the hotel’s locale, namely the world famous museums of South Kensington, as well as botany, ornithology, astronomy, geology and music all being intricately incorporated into the bespoke guest rooms and public areas offset with contemporary furnishings and themed artwork. Restoring the grandeur to the hotel entrance was a key influence in the design of the lobby. A bespoke Ingo Maurer chandelier responds to the form of the staircase, creating a dramatic ceiling to floor statement on arrival. The reception desk has been designed as a standalone piece of furniture to provide a welcoming environment in contrast to the formality of conventional desks. Etching to glazing includes fern and fossil motifs, inset floor rugs and upholstery feature floral and botanical references and tactile artwork. DMA’s design approach was clearly in-tune with what direction they feel hospitality design is moving towards in general terms. When we asked Wan Yau, one of DMA’s four directors, about this he responded, “hospitality is generally moving towards a more customised approach. Hoteliers are more savvy than ever and attuned to their clients heightened expectations. There is an elevated sense of how hotels perform as a ‘product’ and how this functions as part of people’s lifestyles. There is a clear sense of other ‘modes’

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of living making presence into the hotel realm, we are seeing more residential and retail aspects making an appearance. This cross-pollination with a traditional sense of hospitality makes for a new wave of refreshing projects”. Encompassing 5,665 sq ft, The Ampersand Hotel includes bedrooms set over seven floors to accommodate both business and leisure travellers. Guest rooms include oversized bed heads, original high Victorian ceilings and roll top baths where classic English heritage meets a contemporary interior. The suites on the upper floor are set apart from the other hotel rooms providing a residential feel, and include kitchenettes to accommodate longer stay guests. The concept for the lower ground bar and restaurant Apero is sophisticated yet relaxed, appealing to both house guests and locals. In designing this space one of the challenges faced was how to successfully integrate all day dining. When we asked Wan for his advice when it comes to design schemes he commented, “understanding the end user and having a clear knowledge of how they will utilize and interact with your design is essential”. The bar and restaurant needed to serve breakfast for hotel guests but also successfully function as an evening bar, drawing in local clientèle. DMA have responded by creating a flexible series of zones, such as a snug, which is tucked around the Victorian cellar arches; bench tables which can be used for communal breakfast service and later accommodate private dining, and a separate entrance has been incorporated at street level. Wanting to find out more about DMA’s design approach, we asked Wan what DMA believes the key essentials for the coming years are. He told us, “As an unspoken rule at Dexter Moren Associates we try not follow trends as such, we make a point of making each of our projects unique by embracing the site context or history. This adds longevity to what we create and also ensures an affinity between the location and its user”. And finally, we wanted to know how a designer manages to hold down a life and a career in such a diverse profession. Wan said that “the two inherently blend. In many ways, it’s impossible to separate them. A designers mind is never switched off from sourcing new material or inspiration. We mentally carry our projects everywhere we go. Anything we see or do (particularly while we are in the key design process) informs research and decision making”.


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The World’s Most Glamorous Hotels is one of our iconic annual design books. At design et al we believe in recognizing and applauding both domestic and commercial design schemes and take inspiration from each. This year all projects featured are award winning schemes in The International Design & Architecture Awards. We hope you enjoy taking a step into these projects and perhaps in the future you could take a literal step into them, being hotels of course, they are after all accessible to us all.


The World's Most Glamorous Hotels