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Issue 75

Inspiring Hospitality Design

Issue No.75

editor’s note

Issue 75

Inspiring Hospitality Design

Editor Stirling Johnstone Mobile: 0788 402 1551 Tel : +44 (0)1462 742367 Design Miles Johnstone Tel : +44 (0)7888 998208 Cover Image Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch. Lobby image taken by Will Pryce. Interiors by Studio Mica. Seating by Parla Design. Photography Adrian Houston Andy Stagg Richard Southall, Emphasis Photography Steven Joyce Will Pryce Contributors Emilie Rose Aspeling Fay Gristwood Isobel Wormald Print Henry Stone Printers, England © STEVENSON PUBLICATIONS No part of GS MAGAZINE may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the publisher. The views and opinions expressed in GS are not necessarily those of the publisher, nor does he accept liability for any printing errors or otherwise which may occur. SUBSCRIPTIONS In the UK, GS costs just £16 per year or two years for £24.00. Overseas: £24 per year or two years for £36.00. You can also subscribe online ~ Alternatively, please post us a cheque (payable to Stevenson Publications) with your full address details to: Subscriptions. GS Magazine. 19 Wharfdale Road, London N1 9SB. GS Magazine supports the aims and objectives of ACID


rom time to time we have to “pull” stories that are planned to be published. More often than not, project delays are the cause of this - it’s not uncommon for venue opening dates to be pushed back a month or more whilst builders and designers deal with snagging issues. This, incidentally, is the reason why we tend not to publish Forward Features lists. It is however extremely rare for us to pull a story about a new venue that is already open and trading, when the words have been written and approved and when the venue has been professionally photographed. A story that was due to be printed in this issue has been pulled at the request of the public relations company who represent the venue. It’s not necessary to mention the name of the venue or the company behind it, suffice to say it’s a large and beautiful refurbishment and would most certainly have cost the plus side of a million quid to complete. The reason we were asked not to publish is because the venue was being ‘temporarily closed’ to undergo a second refurbishment. It seems that, despite it looking great, on trend and stylish it wasn’t turning over the business it expected, yet it had only been open for a couple of months. The operators claim that the design was not quite suited to the area and this was a problem that needed to be fixed. To a large operator, this situation must be an unwelcome pain, a set-back, but also a lesson learned. The cost element would be managed somehow and the newly-refurbished venue would start to bring in the turnover required to make up for lost time and revenue. But to a smaller independent, such a situation would be devastating. The end of the road with no turning back. We’ve witnessed this on several occasions where independent operators have run out of money and the venues have closed within a short period of time, simply because not enough customers were attracted by it. In the coming months we plan to host a series of round table discussion groups where we will be looking to find solutions to problems that are faced in the industry. One of them, entitled “How can we be sure of success?” will bring together analysts, seasoned operators, designers and other experts to address this dilemma. We may not find the definitive answer to the question but I know we’ll get some useful advice for anyone involved in launching a new hospitality business, including the professionals’ tips on how to avoid failure.

Stirling Johnstone Editor

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This new hotel and members’ club fits into Shoreditch like a glove and is a great architectural achievement A striking conceptual hotel, with the creative vision of Ron Arad Architects behind it Another Place is the first of a collection of new hotels offering guests a laid back, informal experience. This hotel is perfect for lake lovers and fell walkers At the Manchester Royal Exchange. This is the second Motel One to open in Manchester and celebrates the city’s cotton-trading past Get your cheque books ready. This updated and upgraded version of the popular pod hotel concept is open to investors Twenty Five years on and this famous hotel brand is every bit as endearing as it was when it launched Art can excite and engage with customers and be used subliminally to narrate the back story of your hotel A Parisian treasure reopens after a magnificent restoration


Staying true to its musical roots, this Berlin hotel now has its own resident jazz director. Cool! The Excelsior has much in common with hotel Orania on the facing page. Cool!


A look at the interior of this striking Chinese boutique hotel, complete with a typically Chinese story There are ways to find out and knowledge can be a powerful tool FORTHCOMING SHOWS






Showcasing newly opened restaurants and bars including Joe Allen, The Hind’s Head, GBR, Brasserie Blanc Bournemouth, Kitchen and Mei Ume Products and services from home and abroad

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LAUNCH PAD [ new openings + refits ] This page is dedicated to two refurbishments of well-loved venues that are dear to the editor of this magazine


irstly Joe Allen restaurant in Covent Garden. The restaurant opened in 1977 when successful American brands were first making their way over to the UK (McDonalds, TGI Friday and so on). Joe Allen restaurant already existed in New York, off Broadway, and it had become the ‘go to’ for the entertainment industry there. By virtually replicating the design, they were confident that it would work as well in London’s theatreland and it did, becoming an almost overnight success. It continued its success throughout the 1980’s and West End performers, including those in media and television, adopted it as their own. For a young and impressionable guy working in the area it was the ‘special night out’ that usually coincided with wages day! Rubbing shoulders with celebrities was fun and Joe Allen was never short of them. Joe Allen has retained its reputation but when it was announced last year that it was moving to new premises it was thought that it might lose its charm. Thankfully, the owners have copied the interior as it was, even down to the same mish-mash of theatre posters and autographed photos on the wall. The bare brick walls and low-height archways are all in place and that lovely basement atmosphere is still very much alive.

Joe Allen, 2 Burleigh Street, London WC2. Tel: +44 (0)207 836 0651


econdly, The Hind’s Head in Bray. This is the pub that Heston Blumenthal bought several years ago, after he had made such a great success of his Michelin starred Fat Duck restaurant, which is a stone’s throw away. Like Joe Allen the interior hasn’t changed too much now it’s undergone a refurbishment, the pub still retains its claustrophobic old coaching inn charm with oak panelled walls, inglenooks and low beams. It’s cosy and warm and welcoming with just a hint of Heston’s endearingly eccentric craziness about it. When Heston Blumenthal bought the pub there was an industry rumour that Marco Pierre White was keen to buy it. It would have made sense, after all Bray already had two Three Michelin starred restaurants (The Fat Duck and the Waterside Inn) so perhaps he planned to create a third enhancing its reputation as a foodie destination. The rumour was that Heston jumped in quickly to block that purchase so Bray could hold on to the village pub and retain its community spirit. True or not, Heston is held in great esteem in the offices of GS Magazine. He actually wrote an exclusive and entertaining article for us in the early days and even expressed an interest in writing more. Stupidly, this is something we never followed up so the article became a one-off. Much like the man himself. The Hind’s Head, High Street, Bray, Berks. Tel: +44 (0)1628 626151 GS Magazine 7

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LAUNCH PAD [ new openings + refits ]



e’ve come to expect high levels of service from the establishments in London’s St James’s district. The area is famous for its royal connections, discreet gentleman’s clubs, and wonderfully high brow hotels like the Stafford, Dukes and The Ritz. But the service in the Great British Restaurant, known as GBR, a part of Dukes Hotel is exemplary. Not stuffy, nor snooty (although that type of service still exists in St James’s), just friendly and highly professional. It is that rarity; service that is so good that it almost goes unnoticed. Discrete service is meant to be just that, and at GBR it’s perfect. The food is pretty damn good too. So good, in fact, that this reviewer has been back twice and is looking for the flimsiest of excuses to go again. The 58 seat restaurant is open all-day every day, from breakfast through to lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. And the menus, which are overseen by Norfolk-born Executive Head Chef, Nigel Mendham, feature traditional British dishes with a contemporary touch. Mendham’s career path has included working in several established country hotels and restaurants across the UK, including The Randolph in Oxford, Stapleford Park Country House Hotel, South Lodge in Sussex and the Michelin-starred Samling Hotel in the Lake District. He has been at Dukes since 2011. Dishes are hearty and flavoursome and usually come with an unexpected twist. For lunch try free range chicken (with), hot pot suet pudding or Goosnargh duck with carrots roasted in duck fat, gizzards and bitter orange. Or, for afternoon tea, spiced lamb sausage

rolls and white crab and leek muffins are both popular. The interior design is credited to Design LSM who have developed into one of the UK’s best restaurant interior designers. This space would have been a challenge: the dining room has a low ceiling and extends a fair way back into the building so natural light is not abundant: darker areas are fine for romantic evening dining but less so for lunch and afternoon gatherings. Design LSM have added numerous decorative antique mirrors throughout; on the ceilings and on some of the walls, increasing the light and sense of volume within the space. This also provides the room with a feeling of permanence, as if the restaurant has been established for some years and the mirrored glass had aged naturally. Traditional dining chairs, classic leather clad banquettes, marble table tops and a black granite topped feature bar to the rear add to the sense of established grandeur. The interior is charming, fresh and inviting. Just right. There is also a semi-private 12 seat dining room that can be booked separately, although the atmosphere within the main dining space when it’s busy, and it usually is, is what makes this such a special, warm and friendly place. GBR, Dukes London, 35 St James’s Place, London SW1 (entrance on Little St James Street). Tel: (0)20 7491 4840 GS Magazine 9


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conic French restaurant group Brasserie Blanc, led by acclaimed chef, Raymond Blanc brings a slice of rural France to the Bournemouth coast, with an all-new dining experience at the group’s latest destination restaurant, bar and terrace, located at the Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel. Opening within the confines of a hotel is a first for the French restaurant group. It brings with it a few design challenges, fitting your own brand’s design within the shell of another brand without the two clashing cannot be easy, but a distinct advantage of a ready-made audience; the Bournemouth Marriott occupies about the best position in town and retains high occupancy levels throughout the year. The hotel has recently been refurbished and recent website reviews are positive, certainly enough to attract even more customers. Brasserie Blanc is of course an established brand, and it too has undergone an extensive refurbishment programme over the past couple of years. Blacksheep were charged with creating a refreshed identity; they based this around the concept of ‘chez nous,’ inviting customers into the home of Brasserie Blanc, where generations of Blanc family ‘savoir faire’ is

celebrated through authentic French food, cooked with heart. The venues have been de-formalised, creating an environment of restful simplicity, an “all day dining experience that feels like home.” This homely feel is evident at the Highcliff restaurant, the open plan dining space has had an impressive makeover, with Anthropologie etched Arcadia mural wallpaper adorning the walls and richly coloured banquette seating. Touches of eyecatching monochrome flooring, luxurious leather stools and Moooi Heracleum lights give a contemporary feel to the bar. A semiprivate dining room, tucked away in the hotel library, complete with vintage leather wingback chairs, oak tables and a mustard velvet chesterfield sofa, is the perfect spot for an intimate meal for up to 16. The restaurant also benefits from a large outdoor terrace with fantastic views out to sea. The terrace provides canopy umbrellas for shade and woollen blankets for the cold, making it a popular spot in spite of the unpredictable British weather. Brasserie Blanc, The Bournemouth Highcliff Marriot Hotel, 105 St. Michael’s Road, West Cliff, Bournemouth. Tel: +44 (0)1202 557702 GS Magazine 11

LAUNCH PAD [ new openings + refits ] The brand is simply called Kitchen and the offer is very informal

Kitchen 12 GS Magazine

An exciting new restaurant brand for Edwardian Hotels London

LAUNCH PAD [ new openings + refits ]


s the editor of GS Magazine I am often asked to name my favourite hotel or restaurant in terms of design. This is difficult as there are so many beautiful buildings and interiors to choose from and as new venues open, new designs grab the attention and curry favour. This year alone I have visited a dozen or more new restaurants and hotels that could quite easily be classed as amongst my current favourites, at least for now. For a time The May Fair Hotel was high on my list. When it re-opened in 2006 under the ownership of Edwardian Hotels London having undergone a massive two year refurbishment it was amongst the most exciting and trendy places to go. The May Fair Bar was incredibly popular and cutting edge, the new Suites were spectacular and the new design was a delight. Everything was dark and sexy; all glass, leather, marble and gold leaf with more than a hint of Eastern exoticism. Other Edwardian-owned hotels were given a similar design treatment, but the May Fair style was taken and copied by a number of independent luxury hotel operators to the point where, within just a few years, it had become mainstream. Styles and fashions move on and Edwardian Hotels London have worked hard to ensure that they remain as relevant to today’s design-conscious guests as they were a decade ago. The most recent style change has been to their restaurants. A new brand is emerging which is as much an attitude as it is a new design. The brand is simply called Kitchen and the offer is very informal. The idea is to appeal to today’s diner by offering smaller plates, tapas style, so guests and customers can choose to grab a quick snack (one or two plates) and a drink and leave or settle in for a full-on meal. This more flexible approach is proving to be very successful and is attracting a lot more lunchtime custom. As one would expect from Edwardian Hotels London, the interiors are on-trend, favouring a more urban, industrial feel. Each Kitchen is different in its styling, they’re designed to fit in with their immediate surroundings and appeal to locals. Edwardian’s in-house design director, Rob Steul, says that the intention is to ‘engage with the street’ and to ‘create a living room of the area’. So Kitchens are deliberately accessible, with large windows to the front and their own entrances, separate from the hotel. At the Leicester Square Kitchen (a part of the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Hampshire hotel), tables spill out into the Square for outdoor drinking and dining. At Covent Garden (Radisson Blu Mercer Street hotel), where outside space is restricted, the interior floor matches the exterior pavement in height, material and colour so there is a feeling that the kerb extends into the restaurant. Nearer the back of the restaurant there is a raised floor and the back area is partially screened from the lower floor, using more intimate lighting and different materials to create an indoor effect. The interiors are all exposed brick, brushed concrete, glass and steel, warmed by wood flooring and extremely well placed lighting and brightened by splashes of colour in the upholstered furniture. Currently you’ll find three Kitchens, but there could be more in the future, and there’s no reason why the brand shouldn’t be developed as a standalone restaurant concept, separate from the hotels. That could work very well.

Kitchens can be found at The May Fair Hotel, The Hampshire and The Mercer Street hotel. For further details visit their website

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Mei Ume


t’s been a while since I visited a Four Seasons and I’d almost forgotten how exceptional the standards of service are. Even as, across the globe, luxury brands have emerged and developed and continue to raise the bar in terms of guest satisfaction, Four Seasons remains untouchable. Without question, it’s the out and out leader. The Four Seasons Hotel Ten Trinity Square is housed within part of a significant London landmark, the Grade II listed former Port of London Authority building, once the most central point of commerce and cultural exchange in the City. This grand Edwardian building, designed in the beaux-art style, was opened by the then Prime Minister, David Lloyd Jones, in 1922. The property has been restored to its former glory with its wonderfully ornate plastered ceilings, marble columns and oak panelled walls. Despite its grandeur, the property does not lend itself particularly well to a luxury hotel. The sheer scale and height of many of its rooms has made it difficult to design intimate spaces within and guests may find it difficult to relax in such a grand and resplendent environment. Mei Ume is the Asian influenced restaurant housed within the hotel, it is located to the rear of the hotel building within a

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large open hall, interrupted by a row of columns that form a spine through the middle. The designers here (Hong Kong based AB Concept) have thoughtfully and cleverly provided human scale to the restaurant. Preserving the original mouldings of the columns, AB erected intricate black metal motifs on the exterior of each from which structured frames create alcoves for diners on one side of the columns and suspend halo lights on the other. The bar is covered in a pavilionlike structure and illuminated with custom lanterns framed in black metal with patterned glass. Next to the bar is a semi-private dining space separated by hand painted glass panels with silk embroidery, designed to look subtly modern with distinct black and white brushstrokes in the form of bamboo. The bamboo images add strength and create a poetic dining experience within a bamboo forest. The main dining room is complete with bold red accents, a continuous theme throughout the restaurant that represents happiness and celebration in Chinese culture. At either end of the main dining room are three-layer gilded artworks that depict, at one end, a traditional Chinese banquet scene and on the other a market scene from the Song Dynasty. They are striking and colourful artworks that provide great atmosphere. AB Concept have created a warm and intimate environment and the food served within the restaurant is of the highest order. A corridor separates Mei Ume from another of the hotel’s dining rooms, La Dame de Pic, which has just been awarded its first Michelin Star. Congratulations to all concerned. With the standards and quality of food served at Mei Ume, another Star at the hotel surely can’t be far away. Mei Ume, Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square, 10 Trinity Square, London EC3 Tel: +44 (0)20 3297 3799 GS Magazine 15

The Curtain


here’s absolutely nothing wrong with members’ clubs, as long as you’re a member. If you’re not, you’re left with a constant feeling that you’re missing out on something. London has its fair share of private members’ clubs without the need to create even more within hotels but that is exactly what is happening. Two of the biggest London hotel openings this year have been The Ned in the City and The Curtain in Shoreditch. Both are partially closed for members only meaning that some parts of these hotels will never be available to Joe Public. So, unless you’re either a member, a paying guest staying at the hotel or the editor of a rather stylish hotel design magazine, the best you can do is read the reviews and look at the lovely pictures. That is a shame because it’s the closed bits that are usually the most fun and frankly non-members are missing out. The Curtain, which opened in the Summer, is a perfect example of this although the parts that are open to the public are impressive. This includes two of the hotel’s three restaurants. Red Rooster, which is the first European outpost of the successful Harlem eatery in New 16 GS Magazine

York where live music and Southern Soul Food is the order of the day. And Tienda Roosteria, an all day Mexican themed bar, restaurant and takeaway. Both venues are vibrant and lively and are already proving to be popular with the residents of Shoreditch and nearby Hoxton. The Curtain is a new build, designed by Dexter Moren Associates, and headed up by lead architect, Zoe Tallon, who has already picked up top prize in the prestigious Creative Spark Awards for best-designed new hotel. The nine storey building is located on the site of a former 1970s office block on the corner of Curtain Road, and its design reinterprets the area’s 19th century warehouse heritage. The facade consists of red brick with largeframed Crittall Windows which complement the industrial aesthetic and give the building a character and identity of its own. Inspiration for the exterior came from the many cabinet factories and colour warehouses that previously stood on the site. In these buildings the block is broken up vertically by the delivery doors to the warehouse; this also has the visual effect of breaking down a large facade into a smaller, more residential scale. The Curtain design uses

Photography by Adrian Houston

this device to break up the visual mass of the building while retaining its overall cohesion by the use of brickwork throughout. The Curtain is also designed to be a positive contribution to Shoreditch: not just as a landmark building, but one that helps to repair the streetscape by the use of proportions respectful of the surrounding buildings and reflecting the heritage of the site. The positive contribution goes beyond the fabric of the building and carries through to the interior where a vibe has been created which reflects much of what Shoreditch is in danger of losing: a character borne of its history. An area where artists and artisans, musicians, small scale manufacturers, furniture makers and designers have slowly given way to businessmen, techno-nerds, up-market cafe owners and restaurateurs. The area has in part been gentrified but the Bohemian spirit can still be found, albeit hidden behind the Curtain. The interior designers on the project were Dallas based Duncan Miller Ullman (DMU). The property was slated to have 120 rooms and suites, a subterranean members’ club, wellness sanctuary, a signature branded restaurant, various food and beverage outlets and a rooftop

pool. The brief was to design an upscale and memorable hotel that reflected the eclectic inspiration of the community. Their approach to the project is interesting. Determined to deliver a series of individual atmospheres that would encourage members and guests to circulate throughout the property depending on their mood, each area has been treated as if it were a standalone design project. And so each zone within the property has a unique identity and mood. Music was at the forefront of the design and this is seen throughout. Influences have been geared towards Rock, British Punk and American Hip Hop as seen in the collected works of photographer Mick Rock whose work is abundant here. Red Rooster restaurant is a nod to its New York Harlem location. The interiors are colourful and playful and raw. Harlem is represented here by the soulful inspirations of Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne to more present day musicians such as London’s Amy Winehouse, and the atmosphere is mindful of a modern day jazz bar. Other areas are in stark contrast incorporating Art, Literature and Music. Downstairs there is a garden room named GS Magazine 17

“The Bohemian spirit of Shoreditch can still be found, albeit hidden behind the Curtain” the Imperial Room which is designed like a country house courtyard, with a touch of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Just past the Imperial Room is a members only whisky bar, Billy’s, that provides a more intimate gentleman’s club atmosphere with wood panelling, pinstriped walls and a refurbished antique bar. Just past the bar is a live performance space where guests can enjoy live bands amongst the CBGB (Country Bluegrass Blues) inspired interiors. The rooftop Lido Deck provides a contrasting white washed setting of blue and cream faux wood porcelain plank tiles and has a more laid back Californian west coast feel. Every space, including the comfortable urban warehouse-style bedrooms, is unique and individual.

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The Curtain has a balance of sophistication and whimsy in the interiors and in the art collection. Of course, it has little influence over who chooses to stay or who dines in the restaurants, but it is aiming to attract a particular type of member; as it says on the hotel’s website “We’re not about wealth and status. We don’t care who your parents are. We want members that have something in common: namely, a creative soul. The majority of our members are neighbours and work in traditional creative industries, with the film, fashion, advertising, music, art and media sectors, among others, heavily represented.” This hotel has an identity that is only truly revealed to staying guests and members, but even with parts closed to the public it is still worth a visit and is a welcome alternative to the growing number of branded hotels in the borough. The Curtain, 45 Curtain Road, London EC2. Tel: +44 (0)20 3146 4545

Interior Photography: Adrian Houston Exterior Photograph: Andy Stagg GS Magazine 19

Photography by Will Pryce

Nobu Hotel Shoreditch


he architectural practices of Ron Arad and of Ben Adams, coupled with the interior designs of Studio PCH and Studio Mica have created a captivating and unique property in which to house Nobu Hotel Shoreditch. Ron Arad Architects were the original architects for the scheme, putting forward their creative vision and gaining planning permission in 2012. The scheme featured overhanging floor slabs and cantilevered steel beams forming a frayed edge to the east (see CGI image on page 23), where a landscaped garden is terraced to provide natural light to the lower restaurant space. They created a design that draws on the vibrant cultural and industrial context of the local area as well as the site’s linearity. Incorporated into the design was an intimate landscaped courtyard, at the site’s eastern edge articulated into terraces that would provides natural light and access to the generous bar and restaurant space below. An important element of the hotel’s design is the pocket garden, featuring a tree which forms a focal point and far-reaching visual anchor. The hotel’s four storeys above are fractured into frayed, angular concrete balconies that accentuate the continuous nature of the building, with a façade that seems to never end, organically 20 GS Magazine

flowing into the green space of the garden. Ben Adams Architects were appointed in December 2013 to further develop the design and complete the project following Ron Arad’s departure. As a practice Ben Adams Architects have gained a reputation for elegant contextual architecture that balance function with innovation and flair. Their contribution has certainly brought an elegance to the building, which sits comfortably alongside Shoreditch’s many reworked warehouses and factories. The contemporary and distinctive design of Nobu Hotel Shoreditch marks it as one of east London’s more interesting attributes. Built from honest materials such as reinforced concrete, glass fibre and steel, the materiality of the property references its Shoreditch location and the history of one of London’s most culturally rich districts. The aesthetic is raw yet refined, simple yet considered, and was designed to sit complementarily in its surroundings, connecting it with Shoreditch’s industrial past. Facing the east, the Nobu Hotel Shoreditch property marries the Nobu ‘eastmeets-west’ philosophy with the physicality of the structure itself. In the past twenty years or more, Nobu has developed its strong Japanese-influenced aesthetic into a recognised brand. This identity

is evident in all of its 35 worldwide restaurants and reveals itself throughout the interior design of this property, although here it is blended with the “essence” of Shoreditch, past and present: the industry of the past and the culture of the present; the neighbourhood of Shoreditch has been re-imagined in recent years with a progressing revitalisation that has established the area as one of the most exciting in terms of culture, music, art, nightlife and creativity. Throughout the 1990s, Shoreditch was a playground for the YBAs (Young British Artists) including Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, who went on to define the era and revive the British art scene.

Studio PCH, a California-based design agency, were brought on board to design the restaurant interior, having designed the interiors of a number of Nobu restaurants and hotels in the past. The Studio maintains a strong relationship with the brand and has a comprehensive understanding of their operational and aesthetic needs and requirements. With each property Studio PCH designs, there is a feeling of home conveyed and an air of comfort delivered through detailed joinery and a considered material palette. The vision for Nobu Shoreditch restaurant was to foster a vibrant space for eclectic groups of people to gather. Natural wood tones, which are traditionally a prominent feature in Japanese architecture and design, occur throughout the space. Furthermore, Ron Arad’s visionary design of the building’s shell and use of pure materials, such as concrete and cantilevered steel are carried into the restaurant interior through the use of poured concrete wall panels and bronze finished metal accents throughout. A grand staircase leads down to the DJ booth which overlooks the impressive, subterranean restaurant space. Vast windows provide an abundance of natural daylight, with the restaurant’s five-metre-tall glass doors leading out to the hotel’s charming courtyard, GS Magazine 21

which seats up to 80 guests. Behind the Nobu restaurant bar, an eclectic collection of vintage sakes, limited edition Japanese whiskeys and rare champagnes are displayed. Throughout the restaurant there is a palette of rich oak timber, cut into varied grain patterns (solid, veneer and crown). This sleek wooden finish creates a cool and contemporary aesthetic, yet one which is aware of Nobu’s calibre of elegance and quality. Towards the back of the restaurant is a semiprivate dining space overlooking the custom built, open kitchen. This dining room is located in prime position, allowing diners to experience the theatrics of the energetic Nobu kitchen and witness the Executive Chef, Greg Seregi and his talented team creating culinary delights. Designed with the iconic Nobu aesthetics at its heart, the restaurant space radiates a dynamic yet classic energy synonymous with the Nobu brand. The east London based interior design studio, Studio Mica, have created a coherent design language for the remaining interiors of Nobu Hotel Shoreditch. The theme of the hotel’s narrative is based on a balance of the senses; a visual impression of tactile surfaces that would resonate with the food, drink and atmosphere of the Nobu environment. During the design process, it was imperative for Studio Mica that Shoreditch’s cultural integrity 22 GS Magazine

was reflected in the interior design. As local designers, Studio Mica were conscious of the constant process of change in the area and felt a responsibility to be responsive to these changes. The result is a design that has been carefully aligned to balance the arrival of a high-profile brand to the neighbourhood. The material palette for the public areas of the hotel reception and lobby lounge is purposefully diverse, based on the essences of natural materials. A curated collection of timbers, dark toned stone and heavily woven textiles in natural tones and shades of ai-zome blue are juxtaposed against robust surfaces of patinated metal. A focal point of the lobby lounge space is a feature wall (see this issue’s cover) constructed on site from reclaimed tiles. The eclectic collection of handmade tiles include 18th Century French floor tiles, Staffordshire blue ridge tiles from the early to mid 20th Century, York stone from mid-1800s and a reclaimed oak beam that was specially silvered for 5 years. The highlight of the property is the bold interface of the exterior architecture with the interiors. For example, the dynamic concrete structures of the iconic façade are fully revealed in the suite interiors. The seven individual

suites embrace the polished concrete structures creating unique spaces for bedrooms, bathrooms and living. Thus, each of the hotel’s suites have been uniquely designed to embrace the property’s distinctive architecture, creating seven dynamic spaces. Overlooking the Nobu Hotel Shoreditch courtyard and pocket garden, each suite has its own private balcony which allows guests to absorb the vibrant Shoreditch energy. The exclusive Nobu Suite is the largest of the suites and features two private balconies, a dining area, a lounge area and a bathtub. Each one of the 150 guestrooms is an intimate space that exudes privacy and refined elegance. Designed seamlessly with a contemporary finish; the rooms feature black joinery details which are juxtaposed with the refined, exposed concrete of the structure and soft textiles, creating an interior that is not only visually interesting but appeals to the sense of touch as well. The bathrooms, in contrast, are bright white, with a walk-in rain shower. These minimalist white bathrooms are accented with a striking custom made gold ceramic basin. The Hackney based artist, Sichi, was commissioned to produce art installations in every guest room. The art is representative of the hotel’s location and its connection to a Japanese

cultural heritage. The series of original paintings is titled Taizu, which translates from Japanese as ‘stay’. Immediately influenced by both London and Japan, the paintings are formed of expressive brush strokes, layered paint effects and bold graphical ink lines. With the area’s extensive cultural significance in mind, Nobu Hotel Shoreditch has been thoughtfully designed to incorporate the essence of London’s hub of creativity with the Nobu brand’s iconic aesthetic. The simple palette of concrete, bronze, timber and glass with warm, textured textiles is a nod towards location, but also the subtle Japanese design aesthetics which can be seen throughout Nobu Hotels worldwide. Nobu Hotel Shoreditch’s striking and distinctive façade is impressive in size and aesthetic, perfectly balancing reflection, exposure and privacy. The linearity of the structure organically flows down Willow Street, creating an interesting visual composition whilst keeping in tone with its surroundings.

Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, Willow Street, London, EC2A 4BH Tel: +44 (0)207 683 1200 GS Magazine 23

Another Place, The Lake A newly opened Cumbrian lakeside hotel with a difference


ot known principally as interior designers, Household are a leading brand development agency with clients as diverse as Harrods, The Post Office, Amazon, Soho House, Christian Louboutin, Soho House and Unilever. But as the new hotel, Another Place The Lake, aims to be the first of a collection of new concept hotels it makes sense for Household to be involved from the start. Here we ask Jenny Elwin of Household to tell us a little about the new hotel. Q. What’s the concept behind Another Place? Another Place is a lifestyle hotel collection founded upon the concept of ‘active relaxation’. The design and guest journey for each Another Place hotel will reflect its exceptional location, encouraging guests to explore and experience a new environment to the full. For Another 24 GS Magazine

Place, The Lake we used the unique energy of Lake Ullswater to define and design the hotel experience. Q. It has been marketed as “A game changing hotel” - Launching a new lifestyle brand. What makes it a game changer? Another Place The Lake is more than just a great hotel in a beautiful place. The hotel combines relaxed luxury and active relaxation, simultaneously facilitating cosy family times and adventure in the great outdoors. The land runs right to the lake and every aspect of the hotel is designed so that guests are drawn like magnets to it. Every aspect of the guest journey is tailored for ease, enjoyment and exploration: guests can take their personal hot drinks’ flask out on morning walks, order a picnic from the pantry for a lakeside or terrace lunch, enjoy afternoon views of the hills as they

swim in the 20 metre infinity pool and then settle down by the fireside in the evening for a nightcap. The food also reflects the locality, with local Cumbrian produce bringing the whole experience together, combining the lush environment with contemporary living. Q. What have you done structurally to improve/expand the hotel? We spent 18 months overhauling the existing building and creating a distinctive vision for a new wing to the original Georgian building. To maintain the authenticity of the hotel, we envisioned the new wing as a barn extension to the original house – simple, rustic and functional. Q. In terms of hotel guests, who is the target market? The hotel is perfect for busy city dwellers who want to enjoy the great outdoors and make

Q. What part of the hotel are you most pleased with in terms of design? The library is definitely a highlight: located in the original Georgian building, it features a fire place and high ceilings which we complemented with cosy nooks for families and couples - the perfect setting for books and board games or watching the sunset. The Swim Club is another really successful aspect of the guest journey. We chose tiles for the swimming pool that reflected Lake Ullswater’s features. As the sun changes position throughout the day, the reflections echo the surrounding environment, seamlessly connecting indoors and outdoors. the most of the lake based activities on offer. The hotel particularly caters to families, with colourful kids rooms and dedicated, activityled, kids’ spaces. The hotel also welcomes dog owners, with a choice of two family cottages or ten dog friendly rooms with perfect access for walking the grounds. Q. (from the images we’ve seen) there appears to be no art on the walls. Why? Artwork was still being hung in the first weeks of the hotel’s soft launch. Household briefed and curated a collection of local artwork that took inspiration from the hotel’s surroundings and expressed a contemporary take on the wildlife. Modern pieces are complemented by a selection of traditional prints and artworks, to seamlessly blend old and new.

Q. The restaurant space is unlike anything in the locality. What’s the design story behind it? We wanted to create a flexible space that would work throughout the day; the relaxed selfservice breakfast bar needed to transition into a chic family dining space in the evening. We wanted to offer guests a constantly refreshed experience so created niche spaces around the restaurant’s open kitchen to suit every group size and offer a new view or atmosphere at every meal. We chose rust leather seating for a warm, inviting feel and hard-working limestone table tops in the breakfast bar for a practical aesthetic. Meanwhile, the elegance of the crenelated brass bar topped with polished carrara marble elevates the space as a chic evening setting.

Every aspect of the guest experience is addressed, from the bespoke lockers in the changing rooms to the sheltered hot tub will mountain views. Formerly known as the Rampsbeck Hotel, this property has been totally renovated and extended. Inside are 40 bedrooms, Rampsbeck Restaurant, The Living Space bar and restaurant and a library – as well as Swim Club, including treatment rooms and a 20 metre lake view swimming pool. Outside are rolling grounds, secluded nooks, a walnut grove and the lakeshore with its own jetty. Another Place, The Lake can be found on the banks of the beautiful Ullswater lake. Another Place, The Lake, Rampsbeck Grange, Watermillock, Penrith, Cumbria. Tel: +44 (0)1768 486442 GS Magazine 25

Motel One


uccessful budget design hotel group Motel One has opened a new hotel: Motel One Manchester-Royal Exchange is the group’s second hotel in Manchester. The hotel is located in the heart of Manchester city centre, just three minutes from Market Street and the shopping district, and a short walk from Manchester Piccadilly train station. The hotel has 302 rooms and occupies an original building on Cross Street. The old historic facade blends seamlessly with the newer building behind, capturing the fusion of Manchester’s industrial past and cutting-edge modernity. Picking up on the city’s history as a centre for the textile trade, the hotel has an 26 GS Magazine

industrial theme; the design concept is a nod to Manchester’s status as a ‘cottonopolis’ - which denotes a metropolis centred on the cotton trade. When selecting furniture and fabrics, great care was taken to source regional products and manufacturers, with most from Manchesterbased company Camira. On entering the hotel the motif of cotton wool and the textile trade is immediately visible. Guests enter through 6m high round arches made of steel, beneath an Alturo Alvarez chandelier which floats from the ceiling like balls of cotton-wool. The furniture in the entrance area is from luxury leather furniture manufacturer Baxter and mimics the smooth shapes of cotton. Behind the hotel reception,

printed linen depicts cotton plants. The motto of the One Lounge as a space to “work, meet and relax” is perfectly realised at the group’s new hotel. Filigree letters mimicing spun thread decorate the walls, and a long Chesterfield sofa completes the look, custom made by local company Stylematters from the Manchester area. Window recesses are equipped with thick cushions and many pillows to create a relaxed seating area and cosy atmosphere for guests. Rustic steel surfaces, complete with natural rivets and grains, give the bar counter an industrial charm, with lamps above the counter made of real wood. The bar at Motel One Manchester-Royal Exchange offers a selection of local gins as well as quality ales and wines.


K based paper artist Andy Singleton was commissioned by Motel One to create a unique installation piece for the lobby. The work takes inspiration from Manchester’s history as a centre for the cotton trade, and is inspired by the process of manufacturing cotton thread and fabric. Singleton has created a large scale installation and three smaller cased pieces using Bockingford water colour paper, made from 100% cotton. The work explores the moment the cotton thread is woven into a new form to become fabric, capturing the energy of the process. Singleton says of the project: “It’s great to have a piece like this in Manchester; something that connects to Manchester‘s history as a cotton manufacturer.”

About the Motel One Group Motel One, the multi-award-winning budget design hotel group, has successfully positioned itself in Germany, Austria, the UK, Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Switzerland with 56 hotels and over 15,000 rooms. Industry experts and guests appreciate the unique combination of high-quality furnishings, exclusive design highlights, high service standards and first-class city-centre locations at attractive prices. The company was founded in 2000 and has its headquarters in Munich. In 2016 it generated turnover of EUR 357 million with an average occupancy rate of 76.6 per cent.

The Motel One concept has no serviced restaurant but does provide guests with snacks, which can be ordered at the bar, and a breakfast buffet area is available for guests in the morning. In keeping with the cotton theme, the coffee station is covered with a specially created collage depicting yarn bobbins and spinning machines used in fabric production. The small metal dishes over the breakfast tables are complemented by a sky of old coils. A long high table serves as a workbench and provides space for small meetings. The industrial theme continues into the rooms, with the walls above the beds featuring high-quality wallpaper, and a unique design of wooden wheels and single metal letters to bring to mind the industrial design concept. Guests are guaranteed a good night’s sleep in comfortable, high-quality box-spring beds with 100% Egyptian cotton sheets. In the bathrooms, granite and glass fixtures and a washstand with stylish Dornbracht taps give the feeling of a mini spa, complete with rain shower, makeup mirror, refreshing eco shower gel and luxury towel. Clever design features like the spacesaving integrated clothes rails, storage shelves and safe ensure ample room for rest or work. With Motel One’s mobile desks and free Wi-FI, guests have the flexibility to work wherever they want, or simply kick back and relax in one of the Freifrau leather armchairs, illuminated by stylish Tolomeo lamps from Artemide. Mastering the art of combining high-design with

functionality, all rooms boast a 42” LG TV with alarm function. With a third site in Manchester already secured for development, the group‘s expansion in this vibrant British city looks set to continue. Elsewhere in the UK, Motel One will be

launching its first hotel in Scotland’s second city, Glasgow, in the first quarter of 2018. Motel One Manchester Royal Exchange, 11 Cross Street, Manchester M2. Tel: +44 (0)161 228 0800 GS Magazine 27

nitenite pod concept hotel. the next generation


otel management company Fiveways Hospitality has launched the second generation of its successful city hotel brand nitenite, with the news that it is now able to offer this small footprint pod concept as a franchise, manchise or fully managed operation. Given recent news of Yotel! selling a sizable share of their business to Starwood Capital, it looks like now would be a good time to invest in the pod concept. The first 104 room nitenite hotel in central Birmingham has enjoyed almost a decade of consistent trading and was, the developers believe, the first purpose designed, windowless hotel concept to be built in the UK. Installed in an under-used car park, each room takes up only the area of one parking space, whilst still 28 GS Magazine

allowing high quality, double room en suite accommodation for guests. For nitenite generation two, the company’s design team has developed a completely new guest room, bringing together the benefit of its experience in the running of the original hotel and the latest hi-tech specification, with the brief to create ‘compact luxury’. The new room concept was traditionally built in the car park of the Birmingham site and has been refined over the six month development process with input from designers, service providers, planners, hotel management and visiting guests. Fiveways Hospitality director Nigel Atkinson said: “The beauty of nitenite is that it provides attractive, good value accommodation in a city centre setting and those are key ingredients in maximising occupancy and higher

than average return on investment. “Nitenite rooms have always been cosy, attractive and enjoyed by guests, but this next generation adds a new level of opulence. “The financials are good too. The optimal size range for nitenite begins at 100 rooms, with more if location and space permits. Each room needs around 10.6 sq metres of floor space, plus communal and support areas. It can be a good way to cost effectively revitalise a tired asset, or even convert a difficult commercial space into a profitable hotel. At that size, the build cost can be less than £39k per key and deliver an annual 35% profit.” An investment opportunity? The new nitenite concept room is open for viewing in Birmingham. An appointment can be arranged by contacting Nigel Atkinson on 07979 313831

“the build cost can be less than £39k per key and deliver an annual 35% profit”

GS Magazine 29

Refreshing Newcastle


hen the hotel brands, Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, were first established in 1994, the hotels were hundreds of miles apart both geographically and in terms of style. Malmaison, founded by Ken McCulloch and designed by his wife Amanda Rosa, opened in Edinburgh as a new type of city hotel where the restaurant and bar would feature prominently, almost as standalone venues apart from the hotel, and this would help to attract non-residents as a growing and substantial part of the overall business. Guests were slightly younger than your average hotel guest, a little more fun-loving, and the hotel became an overnight success. Much further south, in Winchester, Hampshire, the first Hotel du Vin opened, co-owned by Robin Hutson and Gerard Basset, with interiors 30 GS Magazine

designed by Hutson and his wife Judy. Hotel du Vin was a breath of fresh air. Affordable bistro style food, coupled with an equally affordable and comprehensive wine list served within a striking French inspired interior. The bedrooms were spacious and beautifully designed with innovations like big, walk-in showers and roll top baths in the rooms. The brand was also a great success and like Malmaison, a programme of growth saw the hotels roll-out into other cathedral towns and cities and gradually spread north. A decade later, these two established independent brands sold up, by coincidence, to the same new owner, MWB, whose idea was to operate them as independent brands, albeit owned by the same company. The hotels continued to expand and started to open in the same cities, retaining their individual identities and attracting a slightly different audience. The

group sold again to KSL, and a few years later to Asian-owned hotel operators Frasers Hospitality Europe. Between them they have over 2000 rooms in 25 UK cities. Times move on. Both brands are in need of fresh interiors to entice today’s restaurant and bar goer. Interestingly, Malmaison bars had started to lose some of their female custom so the decision was made to soften the interiors. In Newcastle upon Tyne, designers Dakota House of Design were appointed to redesign both the Malmaison and Hotel du Vin bars. Having completed both to a very high standard, using the same contractor and many of the same suppliers, it’s encouraging to report that the two brands are still individually distinct. Dakota’s first priority was to keep the uniqueness of each brand apart. They’ve done this extremely well and have been appointed to work on several of the hotels (both brands) across the UK using pretty much the same team. Dakota’s MD, Peter Hodgson, having just collected the Best New Bar - Switzerland award for his design of Soho Basel, took time to explain his approach with the Mal Bar. “First thing to mention is that although we were taken on for our interior and architectural abilities Dakota were asked if there was a contractor we would partner with going forward and we chose Dave Thompson of One Concept. As designers it’s vital to develop a trust and understanding with an appointed contractor. One Concept is such a company. We even carried out our first bar/ restaurant project together, over 15 years ago. “At the original briefing we all agreed that the existing bar was a bit too hard and not female friendly enough. In fact I had already had conversations along these lines with females

who once used the bar on a regular basis, so the biggest part of our design was to bring back the female side of the Mal Bar. The idea was to bring in a softer feel that would appeal to females without alienating males. “The most recent trend in bar and restaurants has been to ‘strip back’ and reveal the fabric of the building. And then to add other rustic items to this such as blackened steel frames, worn tin tiles, and so on. It was Dakota’s idea to take this up a level by using the inherent rustic feel of the fabric of the building but then adding more polished and softer elements. This is, in our opinion, where ‘on trend’ bar and restaurant interiors are heading. For instance we’ve kept the untreated brickwork to some of the walls but then added polished panelling with fabric inserts alongside this. Planted walls and planted ceiling rafts bring a softened natural feel. Full height fabric and leather drapes and ‘reeded’ glass screens allow for the new raised rear area to be sub-divided for private parties or meetings. Being able to pre-book an area is very much part of going out now”. Malmaison bars have always enjoyed a sense of mischief. Dakota were determined to keep with tradition so introduced to the design a number of historical, colourful local characters. One such individual was Bessie Surtees, a Newcastle IT girl from the 19th Century who famously climbed from her first floor window to elope with her boyfriend. “On entry we have installed a large portrait of Bessie, which you can’t miss, but as per the other portraits in the bar, and in typical quirky Malmaison style, we have paint-balled the painting” says Peter. “One of the reasons for the paint-balling was to carry through a hook from the restaurant into the bar, as there are two Damien Hirst paintings in the restaurant, both large portraits superimposed with a grid of coloured balls”. A two step raised area has been introduced to sub-divide the area and create visual interest, different table heights with seating break with the uniformity of the previous design and eye level rear illuminated box displays for spirits add a more stimulating appearance for the bar. Overall the Mal bar Newcastle is refreshed and friendlier and has obviously delighted the

operators and their growing number of regulars. Photos have only just arrived of the new-look Hotel du Vin Bar in Newcastle (one is included here) but it is totally different in style to Malmaison’s. Perhaps a little more sophisticated, less frivolous, more grown-up. Originally home to the Tyne Tees Steam Ship Company, the hotel’s heritage is echoed throughout the hotel, from the ships’ ropes in the courtyard, to the porthole windows in the showers, and now the Bistro, with murals that are inspired by the building’s maritime past. Of the Bistro, Peter says “This was a challenging brief for us as we wanted to make some quite significant changes without affecting the classic French bistro, atmospheric environment that Bistro du Vin is renowned for. The key was to move it forward whilst protecting its individual identity.” The Bistro’s new look reflects its nautical roots, with steely blue grey walls, bespoke furniture, light wood flooring, a newly-tiled open cook line and concealed lighting. Dakota, together with the craftsmanship of contractors One Concept have re-established Frasers’ two Newcastle hotel offers as amongst the best in the city and have successfully managed to keep their identities, and personalities, separate. Malmaison, 104 Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 Tel: +44 (0)191 389 8627 Hotel du Vin, Allan House, City Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 Tel: +44 (0)191 389 8627

GS Magazine 31

this is not... Art for Art’s Sake


t must be the aim of all hoteliers (and restaurateurs) to connect positively with their guests so they, in turn, will want to return and to spread the word, becoming the business’s prime ambassadors. That “connection” can be achieved in many ways; friendly and helpful staff, comfortable rooms, great food, ambient atmosphere. The more of these things you get right, the better the guest experience. But to help make a hotel stand out, to set it apart and make staying there a truly memorable experience, hoteliers need to add something more, something that gives the hotel its own, unique character. In recent years, art has begun to play a more central role in hotel design. Notable examples include the Firmdale Hotels; Kit Kemp ‘dresses’ each of her hotels with striking three dimensional art: the Cumberland Hotel (soon to re-open as the Hard Rock), whose foyer doubled as a contemporary art gallery: The Grove in Hertfordshire, where every room contains pieces of stop-and-stare modern art: The Rosewood London, with its delightful, ever-evolving art collection, which includes the lovely Scarfes Bar, where commissioned pieces by British artist and caricaturist, Gerald Scarfe, adorn the walls. Art suppliers would argue that carefully selected pieces, displayed in the right areas 32 GS Magazine

Learn how your art collection can improve customer/staff relationships

“In general terms, women’s art sells for far less than men’s art. And for no discernible reason.”

of a hotel, will stimulate and excite guests, enhance the hotel’s design narrative and the hotel’s brand image in general. This is true but much depends upon who selects the art in the first place. Art, like music and fashion, is subjective yet we all like to think that our own preferences will have broad appeal. Sadly, this is not always the case and there are too many examples of bad art in hotels, either poorly painted or drawn, poorly presented or simply inappropriate for the buildings it is housed in. Interestingly hotel art consultants don’t

all agree on method when it comes to creating an art collection, although most will agree that there should be a narrative. It’s the story behind the collection that creates interest from guests. Sometimes the story is obvious; local landscapes painted by local artists for example but other times the guest is encouraged to search for the narrative: a series of 26 framed black and white photographs are displayed on a wall in The Arch hotel in London, the images are mainly of local architecture but each image contains within it the outline of a letter of the GS Magazine 33

“Guests are drawn to the art, whether they are art lovers or not�

34 GS Magazine

alphabet, either in a shadow or in the crossing branches of a tree or the background detail of a crane or bridge. It’s fun trying to find them. And Before a recent renovation of the whisky bar at the Athenaeum Hotel, a hotchpotch of paintings, sketches, etchings and photographs depicting London scenes, old and new, covered the walls: Royal processions along the Mall, crowds and traffic in Piccadilly, people walking dogs in Hyde Park and Pearly Kings and Queens in Carnaby Street. All connected, not by location, or era, but by the one thing London is more generally known for; rain. In both these examples the art itself is not expensive. The true value is in the friendly rapport that takes place between guests and staff as the puzzles are gradually solved. A totally positive connection. There are some more serious collections of art to be found in hotels that will delight those with a deeper appreciation of the arts. The narrative for the new collection at The Ned hotel in the City, for example, is complex and fascinating. The “Vault 100” is the core of the art collection at The Ned London, a permanent

collection of 100 works curated by Kate Bryan, Head of Collections for Soho House. With 93 works by female artists and seven by men, the display is a deliberate subversion of the FTSE 100 CEO gender ratio at the time of curating: 93 male CEO’s in top UK companies, and only seven women. The collection is housed behind the original 20-tonne, two-metre wide vault door in the belly of The Ned (The Ned being a hotel, club and collection of restaurants developed in the former Midland Bank Building designed by Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens in 1924). Now The Vault Bar & Lounge, the 100 works are displayed among the banks’ 3,800 preserved safety deposit boxes, challenging the perceived masculine dominance of the site and its location in the City. Calling attention to gender disparity in the City, The Vault 100 also addresses the issues women face in the art world - the collection aims to highlight their underrepresentation, with works by 93 of the top female artists in the UK dominating the display in the heart of the male dominated financial district in London. Kate Bryan points to an anomaly, at

graduate level the gender gap is not obvious. In fact more females graduate from the colleges of St Martin’s and Chelsea than males yet in the commercial world men’s art is generally valued much higher than women’s, and there is more of it in circulation. “In general terms, women’s art sells for far less than men’s art. And for no discernible reason.” says Kate, although she is confident that this inequality will eventually balance out “If you’re seriously looking to invest in art and want to find the best buys, the 21st century bargain in the arts’ world is to invest in women’s art”. The collection at The Ned is newly commissioned. Kate, who is a well known curator, offered all collaborative artists club membership to the hotel as a part of their transaction, thus ensuring that the club would have a decent number of female members within it (Club membership to The Ned is just about the ‘hottest ticket’ in Town, with a waiting list that runs into the thousands!). Amongst the collection are works from Tracey Emin, Phyllida Barlow, Sarah Lucas, Susan Hiller, Helen Marten, Cornelia Parker, Langlands and Bell, and Fiona Banner, to name but a few. The seven male artists in the collection are known for their collaborations with women. These include Sebastien Noel of the collective Troika, Ben Langlands of Langlands and Bell, Hugo Walter of Walter and Zoniel, Samuel Levack who works with Jennifer Lewandowski and Idris Khan who has worked on a special collaboration with Annie Morris for The Ned. Art collections can be clever, humorous, shocking and awe inspiring. Hotel art can be the positive “connection” between hotel and guest. Art that is individual and thoughtfully curated shows that genuine effort has been made to impress and guests relate to that. They are drawn to the art, whether they are art lovers or not. And unlike a gallery, the art within a hotel is integrated, not just on display. It becomes a part of the interior design, which encourages guests to engage with the narrative and enjoy it in an intimate and relaxed setting. Images... 1. Hotel Crescent Court, Dallas. Design by waldrop+nichols studio. A single piece of art helps to pull a room design together. 2. Three dimensional art at Mercure, Bowden Hall. Designers, House and Hotel Interiors. 3. Andy Warhol prints of American icons at Casa Lever, New York City, where diners compete to name all the celebrities. 4. Themed art at MyHotel, Chelsea, but what exactly links the art together? 5. Cottonopolis. A celebration of Manchester’s cotton industry at Motel One, ManchesterRoyal Exchange. Art installation by Andy Singleton. 6, 7 & 8. Women’s art at Vault 100, The Ned. Curated by Kate Bryan 9. Bohemia Restaurant, Jersey, where design and art merge. GS Magazine 35

HÔTEL DE CRILLON Hôtel de Crillon’s 2017 re-opening is the newest chapter in its legendary history. Commissioned by King Louis XV in 1758 and built by Ange-Jacques Gabriel, the greatest architect of his time, Hôtel de Crillon would later come to be the personal residence of the family of the Count of Crillon before becoming a palace hotel in 1909. Hôtel de Crillon belongs to an architectural style that is among the finest examples of the French Neoclassical genre. With its magnificent Corinthian colonnade and sculptures by Coustou, the hotel’s façade is a registered historic landmark.


ôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel re-opened in the summer after undergoing an extensive four-year restoration. Dating back to the 18th century, this historic treasure is decidedly reborn as a luxury hotel for 21st century travellers. Located in the heart of Paris at 10 Place de la Concorde, Hôtel de Crillon’s past provides a rich backdrop for its modern-day story. During the hotel’s closure, master craftsmen, artisans and designers worked tirelessly to strike a deliberate and delicate balance between conservation and transformation, and the hotel has emerged as an elegant expression of the spirit of Paris and a celebration of the French art de vivre. In keeping with Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ concept in which each property reflects its location’s history, culture and sensibilities, Hôtel de Crillon’s design has been reinterpreted 36 GS Magazine

through the collective work of leading architects, designers, artisans, and artists. History has been brought to life with a fresh and modern twist, while beloved and unique objects emblematic to the hotel’s history can still be found throughout the property, from the amethyst chandeliers to gold and crystal Baccarat decanters. This ambitious project required an unprecedented level of care and dedication. Owner representatives Ramzi Wakim and Laurent Dusonchet (Avangard Advisory), together with a handpicked project management team, orchestrated the renovation of Hôtel de Crillon. Architect Richard Martinet led the whole restoration and renovation of the property including the landmark façade and grand reception rooms on the second floor, which are also classified heritage landmarks. Under the Artistic Director Aline Asmar d’Amman who insured the coherence of the whole design project,

and drove and inspired the interior designers, the hotel’s interiors were created by four Paris-based designers: Tristan Auer, Chahan Minassian, Cyril Vergniol and Aline Asmar d’Amman (Culture in Architecture). The approach was to respect history, while simultaneously injecting a modern attitude and a touch of Parisian irreverence. Karl Lagerfeld, renowned designer and a great 18th Century admirer, has decorated two exceptional suites on Place de la Concorde, together called “Les Grands Appartements”, which convey his personal vision of French chic and modernity. Hôtel de Crillon’s 78 rooms, 36 suites and 10 signature suites embody an expressly Parisian residential style that is equally warm and refined. The rooms and suites are elegantly decorated with bespoke furnishings, beautiful antiques and carefully chosen objets d’art. The hotel’s ten signature suites are the crown

jewels of Hôtel de Crillon, and figure among the very finest accommodations in Paris. The Louis XV boasts a stunning private terrace that looks out onto Place de la Concorde with exceptional views of the Eiffel Tower and Grand Palais, while the Marie-Antoinette suite reflects a feminine spirit with pearl-gray décor and touches of rosy pink. A private indoor terrace affords views of the Cour d’Honneur; a private balcony overlooks the Place de la Concorde. Nestled beneath the Crillon’s mansard roof, the Ateliers d’Artistes are three new cosy suites that pay tribute to the bohemian poets and painters who have lived the artist’s life in Paris. Hôtel de Crillon’s restaurants and bars are attractions in their own right for both sophisticated Parisians and hotel guests alike. Precious as a jewel box, L’Ecrin is Hôtel de Crillon’s gastronomic restaurant. Each evening, a mere 22 guests are ushered into the intimate 18th century décor of the Salon des Citronniers to savour the unexpected, creative dishes of the young Chef Christopher Hache, whose previous restaurant at the hotel earned a Michelin star. During the hotel’s closure, Chef Christopher spent two years studying abroad and working in the kitchens of the world’s most notable chefs to explore new flavours, ingredients and techniques which are woven together with his French GS Magazine 37

“The spirit of Marie-Antoinette still inhabits the hotel”

culinary savoir-faire at L’Ecrin to create a bold and surprising repertoire. A warm and convivial brasserie situated at the heart of the hotel, Brasserie d’Aumont presents an eclectic, quintessentially Parisian atmosphere complemented by revisited brasserie classics prepared by Chef Justin Schmitt. Schmitt expresses his affection for timeless French fare with talent, precision and an artistic touch that is never pretentious, often unexpected, and always visually exciting. Set in one of Hôtel de Crillon’s most historic spaces, Jardin d’Hiver entices guests with a relaxing ambiance perfect for teatime, postshopping champagne, or an indulgence in exquisite sweets imagined by Jérôme Chaucesse, Executive Pastry Chef. Chaucesse holds the esteemed title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France, the premier distinction for skill and creativity in the sweet art of pastry-making. The 60-seat bar Les Ambassadeurs is the new place to see and be seen in Paris. A festive vibe animates the heritage setting (the ceiling is a registered landmark) thanks to live music nightly, meticulously crafted cocktails, and an exclusive carte of prestigious champagnes. A striking yet intimate venue, La Cave holds Hôtel de Crillon’s impressive collection of fine and rare wines, including labels from the beginning of 38 GS Magazine

the 20th century. Connoisseurs can gather in this secluded, subterranean space for special foodand-wine pairing dinners. For events the Salon Marie-Antoinette, Salon des Batailles and Salon des Aigles, are listed heritage landmarks, retaining the 18th century spirit of luxury and refinement. The salons’ ceilings, which date from 1775-1776, soar over six meters high and the spaces can be connected to accommodate events and meetings of varied sizes. Hôtel de Crillon features spaces dedicated to the appearance and well-being of a stylish clientele. The newly created Swimming Pool area is an elegant, aquatic salon, featuring a mural work by noted ceramist Peter Lane. Other recreational facilities include a Fitness Studio and Sense, A Rosewood Spa, Rosewood’s awardwining, signature spa brand. Women can make an appointment at the Hair Salon by David Lucas. A star among the coiffeurs of Paris, Lucas oversees Hôtel de Crillon’s full-service hair salon. The hotel has also partnered with the finest artisans to offer premium men’s grooming services in a chic and eclectic setting. At Barber by La Barbière de Paris, beard trimming and hairstyling are overseen by Sarah Daniel Hamizi, a classically trained barber who regularly tops the lists of the city’s best, while Shoecare by Devoirdecourt specializes in traditional French shoe-shining and the restoration of fine footwear. Over a span of more than 250 years, Hôtel de Crillon has watched history play out within its walls and on the Place de la Concorde just beyond its doors. The spirit of Marie-Antoinette still inhabits the hotel, where she once took music

lessons in the salon that bears her name. The Salon des Aigles has witnessed both the 1778 signing of the first French-American treaty to recognize the Declaration of Independence and the 1919 signing of the Covenant of the League of Nations. With its prestigious address and reputation for exquisite hospitality à la française, Hôtel de Crillon has attracted royalty, heads of state and celebrities over the course of its storied history. Artists in particular have chosen the hotel as their home away from home during their travels to Paris: Isadora Duncan, Igor Stravinsky, Diaghilev, Peggy Guggenheim, Charlie Chaplin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Andy Warhol, Leonard Bernstein, Madonna…each has inscribed their name in the hotel’s guest book. Fronted by the majestic architecture of AngeJacques Gabriel, Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel faces the spectacular Place de la Concorde, one of the most beautiful city-squares in the world. Built at Louis XV’s request, the hotel became the residence of the illustrious Count de Crillon and his family for many years and was transformed into a hotel in 1909 under the guidance of architect Walter-André Destailleur. Since then, its guest list has featured celebrities, politicians, artists, princes and queens, all attracted to the hotel’s unique and perennial reputation for excellence. Hôtel de Crillon has long since secured its iconic status as a one-of-akind property, a living testament to the very best way of life France has to offer. Hôtel de Crillon, 10 Place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris. Tel: +33 144 71 1500 GS Magazine 39

The Oriana - Berlin


here are similarities with this and the hotel on the opposite page. Both originally built in 1913 in cities that later suffered the devastation of war. Both have survived and thrived and have carved their niche in the world of modern day hospitality. The Orania.Berlin is located in the most vibrant part and creative heart of Berlin at Oranienplatz in Kreuzberg, In this beautifully restored building the legendary Oranienpalast Café, as it was known at the time, entertained its guests with outstanding concerts. Reviving this identity, the Orania.Berlin not only features the ultimate in contemporary comfort in 41 rooms & suites, but also a Literary Salon overlooking the skyline of Berlin and a huge Living Room with two open fire places, open kitchen, cozy restaurant, stylish bar, and a Concert Stage with a grand Steinway Piano. The mix of local craftsmanship, subtle oriental influences, casual elegance, warm lights and precious natural materials from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas showcases a cosmopolitan diversity and nonconformist individuality, just like Kreuzberg itself. “The Interior Design embraces contradiction, understatement and complexity to create a relaxed atmosphere 40 GS Magazine

where artists and cultural cognoscenti from Berlin and around the world will feel equally welcome” explains Managing Partner Dietmar Mueller-Elmau, who has developed the concept and design. Managing Director and Michelin Star awarded Chef, Philipp Vogel is a master at the art of refining the elementary by applying different types of preparation on just three components for each dish. He has designed a captivating menu drawing on Asian, European and South American influences to create an inventive intercultural dining experience. Artistic Director Julien Quentin is an internationally acclaimed pianist who has lived in Kreuzberg for many years. His program features an innovative mix of Jazz, Classical & Electronic Music concerts performed by great artists living in Berlin. Jazz pianist Marc Schmolling, who also lives in Kreuzberg, curates the Orania.Pure Jazz Series & Festival. The Orania.Berlin is a sister hotel of Schloss Elmau, the multi award winning Luxury Spa Retreat & Cultural Hideaway in the Bavarian Alps, which has an international reputation for hosting concerts and talks each year with the greatest artists and authors of our time. Hotel Orania.Berlin, Oranienpl. 17, 10999 Berlin Tel: +49 30 6953 9680

Hotel Excelsior - Dubrovnik


ince the devastating events that took place in the former Yugoslavia just a few decades ago, Croatia has quietly rebuilt and redeveloped; it’s set to become a leading holiday destination and it is an absolute gem. With its old towns, beautiful coastline and guaranteed warm weather Croatia has become a popular getaway for those in the know and one of the best things about it, for now at least, is that it doesn’t suffer from overcrowding. Before setting off to island hop on your chartered yacht, a

few days exploring the city Dubrovnik is a must and a stay in Hotel Excelsior will do nicely. Overseen by a team of talented Croatian architects and designers, Dubrovnik’s iconic property has finally unveiled its outstanding transformation and is welcoming back guests to Croatia’s Adriatic pearl. As Adriatic Luxury Hotels’ flagship property, Hotel Excelsior has been meticulously revamped with a fresh, modern and elegant design that embodies the hotel’s sophisticated yet welcoming feel. Known as Villa Odak, the property dates back to 1913,

and the original building has been restored with a modern extension built into the steep hillside. With its earthy tones of grey and walnut, combined with shades of blue and green, the hotel’s new colours have been inspired by its magnificent surroundings and spectacular vistas; the verdant peninsula, vibrant sea and the warm stone of the medieval Old Town offset by the sun. For those guests who love their food, Hotel Excelsior is a culinary treat. With the brand new Sensus restaurant, run by executive Chef Petar Obad, guests can enjoy the freshest of local produce and delicacies, paired with the finest Croatian wines. Boasting a superb outdoor space, guests can dine under the patio’s charming cobbled archways looking out onto the crystal blue sea. Hotel Excelsior, Frana Supila 12, 20000 Dubrovnik. Tel: +385 20 353 000 GS Magazine 41

Nanxun, Blossom Hill Boutique Hotel iushuli Blossom Hill is located in Nanxun, Huzhou and is known as “Hidden Book Town”. During the early republic of China, another well-known big ‘hidden book’ building was built by the richest person in Nanxun Town, Liu Chenggan’s Jiayetang. In 1930, he built another villa and named it “Qiu Shu Li”. Dariel Studio carefully renovated this ancient building, taking measures to ensure the preservation of its heritage. Inspired by the owner Liu Chenggan’s collecting book achievements, Dariel Studio extracted the design concept as “Hidden” and used that sense of surprise to tell the story of Nanxun and Qiushuli village. Hidden can be translated not only as Liu Chenggan’s achievements in collecting books, but also the subtle beauty hiding in the South 42 GS Magazine

China style gardens, and modern people’s desire of hiding in nature and getting rid of the pressure and worries of daily life. The structure of the space itself has a unique beauty that mixes Shanghai’s streets and alleys with Suzhou’s traditional gardens. The long paved path reminds us of the Shanghai streets and alleys. One of the most prosperous industries in Nanxun Town is silk, which made Liu Chenggan’s family the wealthiest. When designing the space, Dariel Studio skilfully combined elements of silk with the key concept “Hidden” and applied this to the public space design. The vases and books on the background cabinets and flying table lamps add an element of mystery and jointly amplified the “Hidden” charm. The knitted geometric-shaped silk screens divide the various functional spaces into different areas.

Silk is a key element in the restaurant’s decor. The blue and red fiery strips made from raw silk fly across the ceiling creating a fantastic visual scene for the guests. “Fishing, woodcutting, farming and scholar” are four occupations in Chinese agricultural society. It describes ancient Chinese people’s basic lifestyle , whilst at the same time represents a lot of government officials retired life status. Lots of traditional paintings are themed around the values of “Fishing, woodcutting, farming and scholar” and showed how ancient people pursued the frugal yet contented pastoral lifestyle. Thomas Dariel drew inspiration from this cultural spirit and combined it with the garden features characteristic of South China. The theme of the guest rooms is defined as “Farming, Gardening and Fishing” to correspond with the historic and cultural elements of the town. Thomas Dariel chose lively colours to match the three key themes: orange represents Farming land, green pairs with Gardening and ocean blue echoes the experience of Fishing. Designers attach great importance to detailing that relies heavily on the choice of materials and artworks. The orange series of guest rooms are decorated

with bamboo weavings and paintings vividly depicting the local figures and life. A blue wall with an ocean wave pattern provides a sensation of being gently embraced by waves of water. To reflect the local culture and traditional buildings, the original bricks, wood and engravings were preserved and restored. The partition boards are lively carved with traditional patterns representing “Fishing, woodcutting, farming and scholar”. The carving techniques are similar to Suzhou embroidery,

that is “dense yet sparse”. Thomas Dariel, who likes to mix Chinese and French culture together, combines Chinese traditional culture with Western modern style perfectly in this project. The ceyladon green and ocean blue Lazy Susan coffee table integrate perfectly with the environment, and add humour and romance. The Little Eliah flying table lamps portray a French style of playfulness and freedom. Dariel Studio is a multi-award winning interior design company founded in Shanghai

in 2006 by French Designer Thomas Dariel. Since its establishment, Dariel Studio has completed over 60 projects of the highest quality in the main areas of design: hospitality, commercial and residential. We are grateful to Dariel Studio for providing this article. The Studio are based in Shanghai and can be contacted on +86 (0)21 6267 0005 or by visiting More details on the hotel can be found at GS Magazine 43

SLEEP 2017 Europe’s definitive hotel design event returns to explore “Loyalty: Lessons in Love”


leep, Europe’s hotel design and development event, returns for 2017 with the thought-provoking theme of “Loyalty: Lessons in Love” to entice visitors to the two-day event on 21-22 November. Working with Ipsos Loyalty and Glion Institute of Higher Education UK, Sleep will consider how design can influence guest loyalty, and will explore the latest trends in F&B and hotel brand identity, as well as the outlook for hotel development. Last year, over 4,700 visitors from Europe and further afield attended the event, which is held at the Business Design Centre in London. Sleep comprises a conference, concept room installations and an international exhibition showcasing 150 exhibitors made up of 30% returning brands loyal to Sleep as well as first-time participants, many of whom will be launching products at the event. Among Sleep’s 2017 newcomers are Ercol, Ligne Roset, Sans Souci, THG Paris, Artemide and Bang & Olufsen. Mulling over this year’s theme, Jonathan Stone, Managing Director of Vescom, one of the returning exhibitors at Sleep, says: “Loyalty is critically important in a challenging market. However, it can never be demanded, nor expected; rather, it has to be earned. Loyalty is a two-way relationship; you cannot receive it if you do not give it.” This year’s free-to-attend conference will feature speakers such as Eric Jafari (CoFounder of design-led aparthotels, Locke Hotels), Ilse Crawford (Creative Director of interior design company, Studio Ilse), and Bob Puccini (Founder of Interior Design and Operations Studios, Puccini Group). Tristan Auer, whose seminal projects include Les Bains and Hôtel de Crillon, will open the conference and Jeffrey Beers, of the eponymously named Jeffrey Beers International, will offer the keynote on Day Two. There will also be roundtable conversations led by hosts at the top of their respective fields, including development, operations and hotel consultancy. The Sleep Set competition sees leading international design practices translate the theme into concept hotel environments. This year it is the turn of Italian firm, Il Prisma, with studios in London as well as in Italy; 1508 London, the leading luxury residential design studio who are bringing their magic to hospitality; Stonehill & Taylor, the hospitalityfocused architecture and design studio from

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New York City; and London-based MKV Design which specialises in the interior design of highend hotels and resorts around the globe. Vince Stroop of Stonehill & Taylor says, “Our Hotel Irus will reflect and draw on a multicultural wealth of inspiration that honours the environment, embraces globalisation, respects cultural differences and creates a unique experience. In developing and implementing this concept, we have been both architect and client – a transformative adventure for us that we trust will yield a memorable experience for all visitors.” Spaces will return after its acclaimed debut at last year’s Sleep event, encompassing an imaginative collection of 19 immersive installations based on hotel settings, and this year’s Sleeper Bar will be designed by Moscow’s Design & Architecture Studio Sundukovy Sisters, whose vision for the popup will emphasise the importance of human interaction in eliciting loyalty. The sisters, Olga and Irina, say, “We will be using reflection and light to suggest the infinity of mankind while capturing the inner world of each guest in a moment of time. Loyalty is born out of our inner and outer worlds coming together.” Sleep will give its visitors the chance to interact with new products from around Europe, catch up with colleagues, be inspired by the experts and do business. The event will be open from 10:00 to 20:30 on Day One, November 21st., including evening

networking and drinks, and from 10:00 to 18:00 on Day Two. The winner of the Sleep Set will be announced at lunchtime of Day Two. For more information and to register for a complimentary pass visit: www. Images supplied by Sleep exhibitors: Bang & Olufsen, Ercol, Hamilton Conte, Perrin & Rowe and Founder Sponsor, GROHE. Sleeper Bar concept by Moscow based Design & Architecture Studio Sundukovy Sisters.

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Surface Design Show 2018 the best in new and innovative surfaces


rom 6th - 8th February 2018 Surface Design Show returns to London’s Business Design Centre, showcasing the newest and best surfaces that the design industry has to offer. Connecting innovative and exciting materials with an audience of architects, specifiers and designers, Surface Design Show is the only event in the UK that focuses solely on interior and exterior surfaces. For more than ten years Surface Design Show has been the place where industry people immerse themselves in the latest materials for the built environment, gain new insights and network with like-minded designers, architects and suppliers. From exquisite hand crafted surfaces to the latest technological advances in architectural lighting, in 2017 over 170 exhibitors 46 GS Magazine

highlighted the very best in surface design. Surface Design Show 2018 will once again have a packed programme of events all designed to inspire and engage including brand new ideas and firm favourites refreshed to provide the specifying audience with a unique visiting experience. Some of the events that will be included will be the Opening Night Live Debate and the ever popular PechaKucha Evening – an informal and fun presentation of inspirational slides. Surface Spotlight Live, which debuted in 2016, is an exciting opportunity for architects and designers to see the best of advanced materials in two highlighted industry sectors; 2018 will focus on Residential and Transport. Trend and colour expert Sally Angharad will curate the area presenting materials that make a significant contribution to both areas.

Debuting in 2017, Stone Gallery reflects the rapidly growing stone market in the UK and the important relationship between stone and surface design. Officially supported by Stone Federation GB, the first Stone Gallery attracted exhibitors from Europe and beyond all looking to link up with the international architects and designers that make London the worlds’ design hub. Light is a vital partner to surface design, changing interior and exterior surfaces dramatically. Now in its fifth year, Light School, presented by Light Collective and supported by the Institution of Lighting Professionals, will help attendees discover the best of new lighting design and learn about the important partnership between surface and light. In 2017 visitors were able to step onboard Factorylux’s #TheVan to make, test and certify a luminaire

to BS EN 60598 and to experience Reggiani’s immersive installation ‘NightShift’, exploring how artificial light contributes to the personal experience of urban space. Light School ensures that the audience leaves the show having learnt something that will change the way they see light. On the third day of the show, Thursday 8 February, the Surface Design Awards will take place. The awards recognise and celebrate outstanding examples of progressive design and the use of innovative surfaces in projects both in the UK and internationally. Divided into interior and exterior categories there are 13 awards across 7 different categories, each project is judged on a range of criteria including the type of surface, the use of materials and aesthetic design. Registration to attend the show will be live in November. T: @surfacethinking #SDAwards F: P: I: L: GS Magazine 47

Is Your Website Working? by Isobel Wormald

Why your visitors aren’t booking and what you can do about it


our website is probably the most important communication channel for your hotel. A recent survey of Heads of Marketing and hotel owners found that, when it comes to their websites, they are drowning in marketing advice and analytics reports but lack real actionable advice as to how to improve the conversion rate of bookings on their website. This is perhaps why the relatively new science of Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) has seen such a boom in recent years.   CRO is essentially the analysis of data from your website such as heat mapping, customer surveys and analytics (to name a few, there are many other potential sources of data). From that analysis, hypotheses are developed as to why a particular website page may not be converting as well as it could. These hypotheses are split-tested using bespoke technology. Split-testing means that a variant based on the hypothesis is created. 50% of the website’s traffic is sent to the new variant with the other 50% being sent to the original. The visitor does not know they are seeing a variant of the webpage. The test is run to statistical significance i.e. until an uplift can or cannot be proven. In other words if the test is successful you can be over 90% sure that the change you will implement on your website will bring a successful uplift in bookings and revenue. CRO is increasingly forming a key approach

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for those responsible for the success of websites in challenging some of the excuses often heard by teams working to optimisers those sites. Marketing teams can focus on website problem solving using experience and insights, rather than relying on ‘how things have always been done’. Crucially CRO provides them with detailed evidence. So, how do you start if your to-do list is already swamping you? Well, there are a couple of immediate actions you can take that will have an impact on your website’s booking conversions. Set up Analytics correctly - If you are not already familiar with Google Analytics, don’t worry. There are simple tutorials on how to set this up and there are other commercial tools that perform a similar function. Correctly tracking your traffic is key to increasing

conversions on your website. This is the most efficient way of telling you what is happening to the traffic on your website. You’ll be able to map your user journeys into a funnel and identify the key problem areas and therefore the problem pages. What is the point in driving lots of traffic with SEO and Adwords and not knowing what is happening to the traffic when it gets to your website? The above doesn’t tell you why there is an 84% drop-off between the home page and your hotel pages though. To do that you need to perform some analysis of your website and there is a whole range of tools available (many with free trial periods) that will provide you with the evidence to answer the question why. Heatmaps for example can show you whether particular areas of the website are getting enough traction to justify putting them in that space on the page. These are some of the general steps in setting up a CRO process, but what about the hotel industry in particular. It’s arguably amongst the most competitive for online business as you are competing with huge online booking websites. We asked industry specific Optimisers, Raindrop Digital, whether they saw commonalities across successful hotel websites and what they were.   Michael Rippon, MD of Raindrop Digital, cites two main areas that his team regularly come across. “One of the most frequent things we see positively impacting conversion rate is a simplified booking process.  I’d advise anyone responsible for the website to look at

the number of steps you are making a potential customer go through when they complete a booking. It needs to be quick and easy – forcing users to think at every stage can introduce friction and doubts about making a booking.” In addition, we learnt that hotel websites must maintain accurate messaging throughout their marketing, especially when it comes to ‘lowest price’ guarantees. If the hotel website guarantees the lowest price, the visitor should not be able to find a lower price elsewhere on another booking channel. This just chips away at the trust you are trying to build with them. The website must tie-in with all brand messaging and offers being used on additional marketing channels. Overwhelmingly good quality imagery was cited as a key factor in successfully converting websites. “Natural photography that evokes emotion is invaluable” says Michael who states that the Raindrop team often work quite closely with many internal client teams but getting the brand team on board is critical to ensure the success of any CRO project. Imagery across the website must match not only the brand but also

the needs of the most important people in the equation - the visitors. A hotel’s website is unique and exclusive to that particular hotel and, by using CRO, you have the opportunity to use evidence to put forward changes that will make a real difference to your bookings and ultimately your revenue. We are grateful to Isobel Wormald for writing this article for GS Magazine. Isobel is an Optimisation Executive for Raindrop Digital, a specialist Conversion Rate Optimisation agency with headquarters in York operating throughout the UK. For more information visit GS Magazine 49

Creating a unique entertainment experience


uests’ expectations and demands are higher than ever. Over 12 million people subscribe to Sky in their home, generally alongside a large LCD or Plasma screen, with surround sound, and expect the same or better when travelling. When it comes to TV entertainment people want the convenience and quality that comes with watching programmes, sports and movies on a large screen television. In fact, over 80% of hotel guests prefer to watch content on a TV rather than on a mobile or tablet device and two thirds of guests who do stream content

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to their personal devices, only do so because premium content is not available in the room(1). Providing this level of quality in-room entertainment can help prevent frustration while travelling – and in turn, prevents negative comments on social media. Therefore, the potential rewards to a hotelier who ‘gets their entertainment offering right’ for their guests is significant. It can be the difference between filling a room and losing out to a rival venue. Sky In-Room allows hoteliers to recreate that top-quality home-from-home experience in their rooms. It operates like an in-home Sky TV service, giving guests full control over

with the Fingi™ team to roll out the two latest UK deployments of the mobile platform. He commented; “The solution has been tremendously well received. The hospitality will stay longer the bar livekind sport industry seems to beincrying outwhen for this ofis being shown(3). With sevenguest dedicated Sky 'ready made' but totally bespoke app. It Sports channels to to choose from, showing really empowers guests interact with a singlelive Barclays Premier League football , European or group of hotels on their own terms and in a rugby to union, wayand thatInternational feels second nature themFormula in today's1®, Test centric Series Cricket, more – app International rich mobile device era. The and before, customers be spoilt for™choice during and afterwill approach Fingi offersseven from days a week. really opens up a new interactive the get-go Access to reliable and hotel fast internet is relationship between a guest, and their another expectation among holidaymakers. room.” A goodAT WiFi connection encourages guests AIRWAVE THE INDEPENDENT HOTEL to spend morewill time at the which SHOW... Readers have thehotel, chance to getcan additional restaurant theirtranslate hands oninFingi™ later revenue this yearfrom as Airwave or bar sales asatthey check emails,Hotel spend time will be exhibiting the Independent onheld social andWest surf the This means Show at media Olympia’s Hallweb. on October it is more important 30th-31st, on stand 68. than ever for hoteliers to



™ iswatch. the content ingithey a revolutionary With an unbeatable mobile guest selection App of channels, guests cantoenjoy that allows guests be inthe contact shows they know love. compelling with the and hotel andFrom its staff, before, dramas such as Ray SkyAirwave Atlantic during andDonovan after theiron stay. and Nashville on Sky Living, to ourand eleven Europe is the European distributor installer exclusive Sky platform. Cinema channels showing of the mobile everything box office hits to all-time Fingi™ , from positions their solution as a big classics, andwith plenty of livepremise, sportingtoaction technology a simple give across seven dedicated Sky Sports channels. guests complete connectivity and control of ™ provides The of contentFingi available through theirflexibility overall experience. a Sky In-Room meansnumber that different room hotspot types can local telephone and wireless take different content packs, allowing hotels connecting guests throughout their stay, both

on-property and off, allowing international guests to easily bypass roaming charges. Fingi™

is also the guest’s room key and remote for all

meet their guests’ online needs. Sky provides a comprehensive and trusted solution. Powered by The Cloud, Sky delivers fast, reliable, easy to use WiFi access throughout the hotel, backed by our many years’ experience as the UK’s largest provider of public WiFi.

From solo travellers to families, Sky offers a 3-in-1 package to meet the needs of their guests. From an unrivalled choice of entertainment in rooms, to world-class sport in the bar and seamless WiFi connectivity from The Cloud, it’s all part of delivering the best experience for guests and therefore driving revenue for the business. to boost business by from offering the ultimate to in-room functionality, air conditioning mix and of live sport, to entertainment lights curtains, television andand all news in-room programmingThe to encourage longera direct stays and entertainment. device provides repeat visits. connection to the hotel, from room service, Offering sport in concierge, communalboth on restaurants andlive spas to the spaces, such as a bar, presents another key and off property. opportunity. canalso use been the draw of The mobile Hoteliers platform has featured sportsresidential to help drive additional inlive high-end complexes, andfootfall. has Research showspraise that more than 60% of received industry and recognition, hotelawarded guests aged between 18 toinnovative 34 believe being runner-up for most it’sproduct important that Sky is available the new at the prestigious HTNGinannual bar(2) andinnearly half (42%) of consumers convention April 2012. James Coonan, Business Development Manager at Airwave has been working closely

References: 1. TNS hotel study consisting of online interviews with 1000 consumers who had visited a hotel in the past 12 months and 125 hotel owners from across Great Britain. 2. Source: Ipsos Mori OOH Panel Jul ‘14 Fieldwork dates: 10/07/14- 06/08/14 Unweighted base size: 2,529 3. Source: Ipsos Mori OOH Panel Jul ‘14 Fieldwork dates: 10/07/14- 06/08/14 Unweighted base size: 2,529

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esmonite is a bespoke decorative building material which was first invented by Peter Hawkins in 1984. The original compound was an acrylic-modified gypsum composite – conceived as a safe alternative to fibreglass (GRP) and a lightweight alternative to traditional building materials such as concrete. As the company has grown, the list of Jesmonite’s product advantages has grown with it to add more strength, surface refinement, green credentials and product choice into the mix. Meaning that Jesmonite has become the ultimate chameleon material of the building industry, used to create and replicate the appearance and texture of any surface finish in any number of colours. The vision and ambition provided by MD, Simon Pearson and FD, Mark Lennock, has resulted in an expanded range of materials to cover a myriad of internal and external applications – for use across industries such as construction, interior design, the arts and film to name but a few. The team’s product range and brand status is almost unrecognisable from their inception over 30 years ago. Today they successfully export Jesmonite products to world-renowned sculptors, designers, manufacturers and architects based in over 30 countries across the globe. So if you’re building a film set for the latest Hollywood block-buster, creating an artistic sculpture for an arts biennial or decorating one of the world’s finest premium interiors... perhaps Jesmonite could add the perfect finishing touch. +44 (0)1588 630302

The Henley Fan Company Ceiling fans that are powerful, reliable, stylish and silent


he UK’s leading supplier of designer ceiling fans has launched its own design called the Zephyr, taken from the Greek god Zephuros - god of the west wind and spring breezes. It can move a huge amount of air (17,000 m3/h) but with a very gentle and comfortable stirring action of just 65-170 rpm.  It deploys the latest, most efficient EMC motors available using just 24 w of power. The Zephyr is perfect for restaurants, bars, halls, large rooms or common areas where a wide coverage is needed. It is silent with no airflow noise and so perfect for large bedrooms that suffer from noisy or dry air conditioning. There are no annoying buzzes, hums or wobbles. Styled on a biplane propeller the Zephyr looks stunning and brings real style to any room. Tel: +44(0)1256 636509

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ushboard will be at this years hotel design event SLEEP to showcase its outstanding Nuance bathroom wall panelling. Bushboard, now part of the Wilsonart Group, and the UK’s leading producer of laminate worksurfaces is exhibiting at the London Design Centre at SLEEP. Jo Gilhooly, marketing director for Bushboard explained; “SLEEP has gathered pace over the last few years and is now

the must-go-to-show for specification and inspiration in hotels and the hospitality sector. It’s the ideal platform for us to showcase NUANCE - a compelling range of bathroom panelling products. Our aim is to change attitudes to what is an unquestionable alternative to tiling with a product that offers stunning design advantages and real savings on installation time, money, and ongoing maintenance.” NUANCE panels are manufactured using a patented core that is 100 percent impervious to water. The panels can be used for walls, around the bath or basin, inside a shower enclosure or to create a true wet room. Because there is no need for trims or extrusions, NUANCE

panels present a sleek, seam free look that is especially effective in smaller bathrooms. The panelling is easy to clean too – no grout lines to attract grime, limescale and mould. All that is needed is a wipe down with a damp cloth and mild detergent. The NUANCE range is supported by a full-colour brochure that shows the range of patterns and finishes available and has detailed plans on how to create different looks including hotel style, a family bathroom and a wet room. The panels come with a 15-year guarantee and matching laminate worktops are available to complete the look. Tel: +44 (0)1933 232 242

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paolo.interiors launches Floorbamboo to the UK

paolo.interiors - the specialist architectural materials consultancy – introduce Floorbamboo® to the UK, as part of their on-going search for new and innovative materials. Celebrated for its enduring and sustainable properties, bamboo flooring is an increasingly popular choice for sustainability-conscious projects and clients. The ancient bamboo plant, often referred to as ‘nature’s steel’, is a symbol of strength and durability. An eco-sustainable choice, the bamboo plant can grow up to one meter a day and entirely regenerates after 5 years – preventing soil erosion and absorbing CO2 four times faster than forests. In addition, it produces 35% more oxygen. ‘Floorbamboo’ is a result of research and technology to enhance and celebrate the qualities of bamboo by developing aesthetic, sustainable, affordable and durable flooring and wall cladding solutions. The bamboo canes are treated, prepared and carefully hand-finished

Tel: 07913 408430 Email: Website:

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and transported to Italy for quality control and certification to meet European standards. The bamboo canes are originally cultivated along river basins in the hill regions, where the soil is most fertile. Each piece is carefully selected and imported once it reaches 5-6 years of age and is taken through a treatment of steaming and drying to improve stability. Finally, the flooring is treated, coloured and finish to offer a wide range of options to meet most design requirements. This process enforces the durability of ‘Floorbamboo’, creating a finished flooring that is up to 3 times harder than any wood flooring and suitable for indoor/outdoor residential use, as well as commercial projects with high traffic. With the number of oak forests reducing, and the time required for their regeneration, bamboo is certainly the material of choice for the future.

About paolo.interiors
 paolo.interiors is a specialist architectural materials consultancy launched by Paolo Spinelli, in 2005, to source and experiment with natural materials from around the world.
Working with celebrated architects and renowned interior designers, as well as private clients, the boutique agency have supplied and installed some of the most striking and unusual finishes to established restaurants and prominent residential spaces across the UK.
With a rich portfolio of international quarries and factories, paolo.interiors provide an evolving range of stone and other materials, including marble, tiles and wood flooring. Driven by a passion to champion these pieces of nature, the team travel the globe to source the most beautiful and innovative materials.

Fully booked. Now there’s a thought worth entertaining. From award-winning dramas and comedies to blockbuster movies and nail-biting sporting action – your guests can have it all with Sky. Plus fast, reliable and easy to use WiFi with marketingtools designed to drive business growth.

Call 08442 411 450 T&Cs: Equipment and installation costs may apply. Sky In Room and Sky In Bar: 12 month minimum term required to get Sky TV in your hotel. Premises must be in United Kingdom (excluding Scottish Islands and Channel Islands). Eligibility subject to credit checks. Content included depends on your subscription package. Sky In Room only: £100 minimum monthly price applies per hotel premises. WiFi from The Cloud: WiFi availability is subject to your premises location. Standard set-up fee and 12 month minimum term apply. Please call for details. Calls to Sky cost up to 7p per minute plus your provider’s access charge. Formula 1 © Getty Images Europe. Man from U.N.C.L.E. © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. The Martian © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Not for sale or duplication. Premier League © Getty Images. Correct at time of supply: 15/07/16.

Airblade™ technology in a tap. Innovative design in a basin. With the Dyson Airblade Tap hand dryer, hands can be washed and dried at the sink – so no water is dripped on the floor. And by freeing up extra space it enables a more minimalist aesthetic, or additional washroom facilities. The Dyson Airblade Tap hand dryer can now be combined with Avante® basins crafted in Corian.®

For more information call: 0113 201 2240

To speak to someone at Dyson: 0800 345 7788