Library Archives

 
Christopher Chua

BLINK's philosophy revolves around the power of instinct and first impressions. So, as you might imagine, these are things we hold as sacred. But instinct isn't everything. The other ingredient to making the magic happen in hotel design (besides a great client and a very talented team) is deep, painstaking and exhaustive - not to say exhausting - research into every aspect of the project's location, culture, history and design vernacular, Research and an informed perspective — as well as being open to the flashes of inspiration and accepting that the best ideas can be those which jump into the mind first — are the backdrop against which our design process unfolds. Read on...

Eric Rahe

Guests are back even if rate is not. New construction in select markets has returned and significant renovations are occurring across all asset types. With each new cycle there is a need to refresh current amenities and at the same time incorporate changes to make amenities relevant and appealing to your guests. One challenge for operators and designers is how to understand how recent lifestyle and demand shifts are driving change. Read on...

Jim Suggs

The ongoing recovery from the "Great Recession" has not produced the flood of hotel property sales and associated major renovation projects in the United States that some in the hotel industry had anticipated based on past experiences. However, rebranding activity has remained fairly constant: just as renovating guest rooms is part of an ongoing cycle, so is rebranding. But as owners know, rebranding poses greater challenges than guest room renovations, and there is far more at stake in assuring the best possible outcome. Read on...

Hank Freid

Hank Freid, the CEO/Founder of Impulsive Group, and his son Brandon Freid have amassed an extensive real estate portfolio, which includes a number of luxury hotel properties throughout Manhattan, including the Ameritania Hotel at 54th and Broadway, the Moroccan-themed Marrakech Hotel and their flagship 4 ½ star European-inspired luxury boutique property, The Sanctuary Hotel, located in the heart of Times Square. The Sanctuary Hotel was named International Hotel of the Year at the 2011 European Hospitality Awards and has been given TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Its popular rooftop lounge Haven has been a hotspot for some of the city's most press-worthy events, their new restaurant Tender is garnering rave reviews and they continue to expand with projects including this summer's new outdoor Haven Beer Garden and the soon to open speakeasy Foxhole. In addition to their hospitality holdings on land, the father and son team also have several charter luxury yachts, which operate in Miami, Europe, the Mediterranean, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Read on...

Steve Van

The traditional approach to launching a renovation is to put up a big wall that divides the construction area from the rest of the world, add a small announcement blurb to your webpage and post a sign with two hammers that reads "pardon our dust for the next six months." I call this dated strategy the "out-of-sight out-of-mind" method. A better approach is to think of a renovation as a client engagement initiative that begins six months before the construction and extends for six to 12 months after the ribbon cutting. This may seem daunting at first, but if managed properly, this mindset will take the renovation experience to the next level for everyone involved. Read on...

Michael Prifti

It's no surprise that in a hospitality setting, the use of technology in the coming years will be more cutting edge, especially in mega resorts and boutique hotels aiming to cater to both discerning and hip guests. As we say goodbye to 2012 and usher in a new year, exciting changes are taking place within hotels, many which are already becoming apparent. So how will the incorporation of new and changing technology impact structural, operational, or interior design of hotels? Read on...

Steve Van

After reading my last column, you've come to accept that Property Improvement Plans (PIPs) are essential for remaining competitive in today's market and keeping your brand flag. Renovating a hotel while keeping it open and keeping guests happy is one of the most difficult tasks in our business. It's as tricky as operating on a battlefield or taking the SAT with the flu. But in today's economic environment it is absolutely necessary. Read on...

Steve Van

Get ready for even more hotel defaults as brands turbocharge the default pipeline by pressuring owners with long overdue product improvement plans. Brands aren't kidding around; they are defending their brand integrity against competitors who are remodeling. And with the instant customer feedback the Trip Advisors are producing, they have to act more quickly than ever. Here's why a PIP is necessary, how to deal with a brand on PIP issues, and what could happen if you don't. Remember—brands aren't evil—it's the outdated amenities that will dry up the customers and the cash flow. Read on...

Jim Suggs

A hotel may be elegant and deftly designed. The materials may be of the highest quality. It may provide five-star service and amenities. But if a hotel looks the same in Chengdu as in Chicago, then it is only an elegant, high-quality, five-star hotel. It says little about the place. And a unique guest experience is inextricably linked to place. What are the challenges and solutions to creating a memorable guest experience by design? Read on...

Roger G. Hill

It's no secret that 2011 was a complex year for the hospitality industry, and you can fully expect that 2012 will be no different. We started this past year with the strongest transaction activity since 2007 and a momentum that inspired both our colleagues and peers with the hope that, after reaching rock bottom, we were once again on the ascent to recovery. Even well into April, we continued to be encouraged by signs of growth. Read on...

Roger G. Hill

Pop culture ultimately affects hotel design and guest experiences, whether we realize it or not. As hospitality designers, we constantly look at the latest trends in technology, fashion, celebrity lifestyles and more. At the same time, we scour, find and determine the upcoming trends to stay ahead of consumer demands. Today, pop culture and technology meet today's fast-paced world while always changing and evolving. An ongoing trend in pop culture is accessibility, attainability and sustainability. In this article, we'll discuss how those pop culture and technology trends affect hospitality designs in the spas, restaurants and hotels we frequent. Read on...

Roger G. Hill

Value Engineering has become a catch-all moniker for ways to reduce a project's budget even after the project is underway. Because of that, it's unfortunate that the term is rarely questioned when offered as a solution. In turn, the design can crumble into an unknown subject matter that hardly resembles the original, ending with a budget that works and a design that doesn't. In this article, we examine how all the pieces, including the vision, design and budget, can work together to satisfy the entire team. We highlight our initial approach when starting a project in order to avoid Value Engineering. Read on...

There is no doubt that the dire state of our credit markets has had a devastating effect on hotel financing and development. One funding mechanism that is helping to close the gap is the EB-5 program. The program allows foreign individuals to invest at least $500,000 in job-creating projects in the United States. Hotels are a great business type to invest in and they induce many more jobs than those directly created by the hotel. However not all hotels are created equal and investors have a choice in where they invest their money. Let's explore the program and some opportunities it provides. Read on...

Roger G. Hill

While every, if not all, hotel and hospitality businesses are thinking about branding, we question the process in which it's done. Branding alone does not get the results the end user needs, whether it's the hotel's team members, the hotel's guests, or owners. We believe in design thinking, which is a somewhat new term in the ever-changing and branding world. Each project is profoundly different but there are some commonalities at the core. This is what we call DNA, which to us stands for Differentiators, Nuances and Attributes. Let's examine the process we take with each project and client and how we deliver the ideal branding experience. Read on...

What are the methods to quickly evaluate hotel feasibility? There are several rules of thumb that can assist at a very early stage. Each of these rules is comprised of several factors that can be positively influenced by fundamental decisions. The rules can be applied towards new construction, adaptive reuse and remodelings. The resulting assessments allow for well calculated "gut checks" that save both time and money. Read on...

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Coming up in July 2018...

Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.