Published on March 11, 2014
I t is the one of the largest hotel groups in the world by number of guestrooms. Its IHG® Rewards Club is the largest loyalty scheme in the industry, with over 74 million members. And its Holiday Inn brand family now has more rooms than any other hotel brand, having leapfrogged Best Western, Marriott, Hilton and Choice Hotels to top MKG Hospitality’s annual ranking of the world’s biggest hotel brands in 2013. IHG is a juggernaut, by many measures the biggest beast in the hotel industry jungle. At the last count, in June 2013, it had 4,643 hotels around the world, with nearly 1,100 more in the pipeline – though by the time you read this, those numbers will have increased. Its expansion projections have never been higher, as it continues to grow in strength and scale, via a mix of franchised and managed new hotels across the globe. Keeping this momentum requires a streamlined, ruthlessly efficient approach to the signing and development of new hotels. To this end, the company underwent a significant geographical restructure in September 2011, with the EMEA region reshaped to create a standalone Europe region, under Chief Executive, Angela Brav, whilst Middle East and Africa was separated out to join Asia Pacific, now Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) headed up by Chief Executive, Jan Smits. The Americas region remains intact, and is now headed up by Kirk Kinsell, previously President of the old EMEA region, whilst Greater China is now under new leadership, with Kenneth Macpherson joining IHG from Diageo. Macpherson has been based in China since 2005 and takes charge of a region where IHG has a leadership position, with 191 open hotels and another 179 in the pipeline. “Europe is very fragmented and complex, so deserved to be treated as a region in its own right, whereas Asia, Middle East and Africa tend to have more synergy as the focus there is on large managed hotels, typically upscale, and often in developing markets,” explains Robert Shepherd, Chief Development Officer for the newly created Europe region, which encompasses the French speaking parts of North Africa, Turkey, Israel, Russia and the CIS as well as the UK and mainland Europe. Shepherd’s team oversees Development, Design & Engineering, and New Hotel Openings, for all new hotels across these territories. “The key idea is to provide an end- to-end service for owners, within one department, from negotiation through to ownership, without handing them off to different departments in different locations throughout that process.” Following this regional restructure, a new team has been built. Reporting directly into Shepherd are Philippe Bijaoui,VP Development Europe; Miguel Ruano,VP Design & Engineering Europe; and Gilles Goasdoué, Head of Hotel Openings Europe. A similar structure exists in Asia, Middle East and Africa, underneath Senior VP Development AMEA Paul Logan, although Logan has the Strategy function reporting into him as well as Development and Design Streamlined for success & Engineering, whilst New Hotel Openings sits within the Operations team, as that fits better with the focus on managed hotels. In the Americas, Design & Engineering sits within the regional brand management team, but works closely with the Development team, under the leadership of Chief Development Officer, Joel Eisemann. “These regional nuances in organisation demonstrate that we can localise what we have to, in order to suit the regions we operate in,” says Shepherd. “The global brand frameworks have been established, leaving us empowered regionally to deliver.” The global brand teams for each IHG brand establish what Shepherd describes as “the core proposition – the non-negotiables. Within the region, from a property standards perspective, my team is then responsible for the regionalisation, execution and delivery of everything else within that framework.” A key difference with other large hotel groups, according to Shepherd is the close alignment of these different functions – brand, design and development – at a regional level. “We have our own regional brand team here in Europe and we have my team working on the product.We are all working together with our owners to deliver what’s right for Europe. It’s very tightly FEATURE: IHG DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT KEY FIGURES IN IHG’S EUROPEAN DEVELOPMENT, DESIGN & ENGINEERING TEAMS Continuing our series looking at the design and development functions within the world’s major hotel groups,Sleeper Editor MattTurner speaks with Robert Shepherd,Chief Development Ofﬁcer,Europe,IHG® . ROBERT SHEPHERD Chief Development Officer, Europe Robert Shepherd is responsible for the growth of IHG’s brands across Europe, leading the Development, Design and Openings team. Based in their respective markets, the team is responsible for the owner journey from prospect to a successful open hotel and driving high quality growth through innovative and flexible management and franchise contracts. Shepherd’s previous role at IHG was as Vice President Hotel Services EMEA, responsible for a centre of excellence delivering a pipeline of more than 150 new hotels and for ensuring that all new and existing IHG hotels deliver on the IHG brand promise. Shepherd started his career with WS Atkins and spent four years in Dubai, on the Jumeirah Beach Resort and Burj Al Arab development. At IHG Shepherd has enjoyed roles including Project Services, Franchised Operations, Development and Technical Services in the UK. He also led the design, guest experience and quality teams across EMEA. PHILIPPE BIJAOUI Vice President, Development, Europe Philippe Bijaoui leads the development of IHG’s six hotel brands in Europe. IHG, one of the world’s largest hotel companies, franchises, leases, manages or owns over 4,600 hotels and 678,000 guestrooms in nearly 100 countries and territories. Serving in an international environment, Bijaoui has acquired 20 years of experience in hotel development and real estate. Prior to joining IHG in November 2012, he worked for Rezidor as Vice President Business Development and Head of Development for Hotel Missoni. From 2006-2007 he was Global Senior Vice President of Development for Club Méditerranée. Bijaoui worked as Managing Director of HVS Madrid Between 2005 and 2006 and joined Rezidor in 2001 serving as Director of Business Development until 2005. Prior to joining Rezidor, he was Director of Acquisitions for City Hotels, a real estate company listed in Brussels and Asset Manager and Developer for the Group SIH. MIGUEL RUANO Vice President, Design & Engineering, Europe A registered architect and planner, Miguel Ruano has more than 30 years experience of international real estate development and design projects, with a major focus on the hospitality sector, with his first hotel project dating back to 1988. Prior to joining IHG, Ruano provided highly bespoke advisory services on project development strategy and project conceptualisation; masterplanning and architectural design; design, project and construction management; integrated resorts and shared ownership. Ruano has worked for architecture and consulting firms in Spain and the USA, such as SOM-Chicago, where he was Project Architect for the Hotel Arts Ritz-Carlton Barcelona, and New York developer TTG. From 1997 to 2009, he led the Resort Development Department in EMEA for Marriott Vacation Club International (MVCI) as Senior VP Resort Development & Acquisitions, based in London. 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sewn up, we don’t have brand heads and design heads flying in from overseas, meaning local resources can do next to nothing without their say so.” “The Design & Engineering team comprises Development Architects in each of the markets, supported by Engineering and Brand Safety design resources; delivering a responsive, local service, in language and understanding the local business culture.This is what it takes to do business successfully in Europe because the challenges are very unique to the region.The people we send to meet with owners, or owners’ consultants, can look at the reality on the ground, they know the framework and can find the solution within that framework rather than saying ‘I’m not sure we can do that, I’ll have to come back to you.’ Owners need that responsiveness, engagement and proactivity as every hotel is different. ‘How can we make that work, and deliver the guest experience in that hotel, on that site, in that market?’ Our local team help find the solutions.” All very well in theory, but how does this work in practice, when it comes to the endlessly complex and challenging process of getting a new hotel opened? Naturally, the Development team are usually the first point of engagement with the owner of a potential IHG hotel. “The Development team have a headline first pass look at the site or property to see if it broadly fits, and a discussion with the owner about which brand would be appropriate, the things that will be required; at that point you begin to see an alignment over expectations, and what the principal factors are going to be.” The Development team will then engage their colleagues in Design & Engineering to undertake a full plan review for newbuild properties, combined with a site inspection for re-brands and conversions. A Property Report is prepared, detailing any tweaks or amendments that will need to be made to the owner’s proposals.This document accompanies the formal application for the hotel to become an IHG hotel, sitting alongside feasibility studies, due diligence reports and other legal documents.These formal applications are assessed by a fortnightly Deal Approval Committee, chaired by Shepherd, at which the Brand, Commercial and Performance Support teams are all represented, each with a specific role in the approval process. According to Shepherd it is rare for deals to be rejected at this stage, as the teamwork and engagement that goes on beforehand flushes out problems earlier in the process. “If surprises come at the committee stage, we didn’t work properly along the way.” Once a deal is approved and signed, the New Hotel Openings team are engaged, working alongside their Design & Engineering colleagues to see the project through to completion. “They get an internal briefing, and can review the Property Report to see where it’s at.They will then arrange a meeting with the owner to lay out the process: how and when they will be interacting, what our expectations are of the owner’s team, and what they can expect of us through to the opening.” Assisting in this process is an application called ‘Hotel Opening Manager’ – a toolkit which IHG provides for the owner to track progress of their own team and IHG’s, outlining the activities and tasks that need to be completed before the hotel can open, broken down by function and assigned to different heads of department. “There are over 2,000 principal tasks that need to be completed to open an IHG hotel,” explains Shepherd. “The application has these clearly outlined, plotted against a timeline, and allocated to individuals.” The New Hotel Openings and Design & Engineering teams will then work closely together to see the project through to the point where the hotel opens its doors, at which point they handover to IHG’s Operations team. This handholding approach has had a positive response from IHG’s owners and partners. “The feedback we have after opening is heartwarming and inspiring,” says Shepherd. “That for me is the proof of the pudding, that the integrated approach between Development, Design & Engineering and Hotel Openings really works.” Of course, the path to opening a hotel is not always a clear one, but IHG has stringent processes in place to foresee obstacles and smooth out any bumps along the way. “We set an opening date from the moment we sign a deal with a prospective hotel. At the approval stage, we will have looked at the current status of the project, what building permits and planning permissions are agreed.We will have ensured site ownership and financing is in place, and looked at the anticipated dates for the project to start, complete and open.That opening date is plugged into our system, and the New Hotel Openings and Design & Engineering teams track the project and report on progress to Part of IHG, Holiday Inn® is one of the world’s most recognised brands and continues to grow throughout Europe. With 280* hotels open in Europe and another 23 in the pipeline, the Holiday Inn brand, known for its comfort, convenience and value, is the perfect choice for smart travellers. The launch of the Holiday Inn Open Lobby Concept in Europe took place in 2012 at the 134 room Holiday Inn London – Brentford Lock, located close to central London on the Grand Union Canal lock. The Holiday Inn Open Lobby Concept is a refreshing approach to the guest experience, which has transformed the conventional hotel lobby format by combining the front desk, lobby, restaurant, bar, lounge area and business centre into one open, integrated space. Designer Stuart Bradbury of ADS refreshed the design of the hotel to give it a more contemporary feel, working closely with Alistair Twiname, IHG’s Development Architect for the UK and Ireland. The concept has been established by understanding how people use space at home in order to give guests attractive choices whether they’re looking to eat, relax, work, or have fun. The Holiday Inn Open Lobby Concept reflects findings from a new travel insights report* by IHG, which identifies some emerging traveller groups, one of which is referred to as “latte and laptop”. The Open Lobby Concept is designed to provide effective spaces for these new business traveller. The Open Lobby Concept at Holiday Inn – Brentford Lock sees a new approach to the traditional business centre by giving guests’access to an E-Bar with Apple iMac computers, free WiFi and power outlets available in every area. Providing an interactive space for all guests, the concept offers local residents and hotel guests a brand new restaurant and bar to enjoy great food in a relaxed atmosphere. Twiname said: “During the development and installation of the open lobby concept at Holiday Inn – Brentford Lock, the Design and Engineering team brought the brand’s vision to reality, allowing it to be realised in a way that not only delights the guest but also brings tangible benefits to the owner.” Chris Ball, Director of Design, UK and Ireland, IHG said:“The Holiday Inn Open Lobby Concept is a casual, multifunctional space designed to make everyone feel welcome whether travelling alone or with a group, with kids or with colleagues. The variety of spaces defined by design within a more open area provides guests with the option to do what they want to do, in the space they choose to do it. It also allows for more efficient staffing, improving on return on investment and the guest experience.” Mark Hanlon, Head of Engineering Europe, said: “Creating an open multifunctional zone brought its challenges, as we needed to ensure we created the right environment and level of comfort throughout, with different parts of the area having varying occupancies and use at times. We were able to achieve this through adaptation of existing electrical, lighting and HVAC systems delivering a low cost solution with a highly effective result.” *The new kinship economy: from travel experiences to travel relationships, a report commissioned by InterContinental Hotels Group and The Futures Company (March 2013). HOLIDAY INN – OPEN LOBBY CONCEPT FEATURE: IHG DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013 WWW.SLEEPERMAGAZINE.COM 113112 WWW.SLEEPERMAGAZINE.COM NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013
make sure we are on schedule to meet that date. If there are contractor delays which we don’t think are going to be recoverable, we’ll push the opening date back accordingly.” That can be a difficult conversation, admits Shepherd. “It’s a very particular and stressful phase for the owner and their team.That opening date is fixed in the minds of the owner and their investors, and they are understandably protective of it. But if it looks like it will be missed, we have to say, ‘based on our experience, this is when it will be ready’ – and point out that the downside risks of subsequently missing an unrealistic opening date are significant.” The New Hotel Openings team will again be at the hotel on the proposed day of opening, and do an inspection to identify and rectify any remaining issues. Assuming these are not insurmountable, the property will go live within IHG’s distribution systems, subject to any outstanding minor issues being addressed within an agreed timeframe. “We don’t just wait until the hotels open and then trigger the distribution channels. The hotel is built into our systems 18 months in advance so that we can start to create visibility and build demand around booking cycles. It’s about building revenue for that hotel ready for day one, so that we have business on the books before it opens, and about maximising revenue from the moment the doors are open.We are looking to shorten the ramp up time – starting from scratch on the day a hotel opens is a terrible place to be.” The Design & Engineering and New Hotel Openings part of the team effectively act as a performance consultant, “helping the owner to do the right things at the right time, giving them the systems and tools to maximise performance,” says Shepherd, although he emphasises they are there to support, not replace, the owners’ project team: “They are not fulfilling the Project Management role.The owner will still have a contractor, an architect, and an interior designer on their team – we provide oversight, review and input, to ensure that we maximise the opportunity and that they get it right first time.” FEATURE: IHG DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT CROWNE PLAZA HOTELS & RESORTS Crowne Plaza® is an international upscale hotel brand currently located in over 60 countries around the world and part of the IHG brand family. Intended for the discerning business traveller, the Crowne Plaza brand provides premium accommodation, facilities and services designed to ensure guests get the most out of their business trips. Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts offer guests fully equipped meeting rooms, a 24-hour business service, wireless high- speed Internet access in the lobby and rooms, and fitness and leisure facilities. The Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts global portfolio has doubled since 2003 to nearly 400 hotels, with a further 97 in the pipeline due to open in the next three to five years. The Crowne Plaza Liège is not just a hotel but a destination in its own right. Located in the heart of the city, the hotel has been developed utilising two 16th Century mansions. The properties are listed as part of the ‘exceptional Walloon heritage’and were previously owned by “Comtes de Méan” and the “Sélys-Longchamps” families, whose heritage is well-known in the region. Taking into consideration the guidelines of the city’s historical and archeological department, Architects Altiplan and IHG’s Design and Engineering team worked together to create the hotel’s public spaces within the existing buildings and including the original 300m2 Napoleon III Ballroom. Complete with a roof terrace, the ballroom has been fully restored to its original opulence and is used for receptions, seminars, weddings and concerts. For their first hotel development, interior designer Eric Goffin and the owner worked very closely over six years with IHG architect Jean-Philippe Perrouty-Henin, to overcome architectural constraints, implement a stylish elegant design throughout the hotel’s lounges, suites and bedrooms and bring this to life. Miguel Ruano, Vice President, Design and Engineering, commented: “The development of the Crowne Plaza brand focuses on raising product quality, consistency and driving performance across the portfolio. The result is innovative and smartly designed hotels such as the Crowne Plaza Liège that provides owners with a competitive advantage and places IHG ahead of the competition.” NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013 WWW.SLEEPERMAGAZINE.COM114
IHG does not currently have a list of approved interior designers or architects in Europe, but it is looking at introducing them “particularly for the upscale brands such as Hotel Indigo® , Crowne Plaza® and InterContinental® .” Nonetheless, Shepherd says this is difficult, particularly in a region as fragmented as Europe. “We have to consider the differences in language, culture and geography – it wouldn’t be one list for all territories.” The proliferation of breakaway design firms also makes it difficult to create a definitive list. “It always boils down to the individuals – the expertise, approach and style often lie with individual designers rather than the company they work for, so there are some challenges around having an approved list but we will be producing those for our focus markets,” affirms Shepherd. The company is happy to recommend consultants who have successfully delivered IHG branded hotels in the past, and will sometimes seek to influence the choice of designer or architect, particularly in developing markets where owners may be considering employing companies without previous experience in the hotel sector. “We will recommend designers we have worked with based on track record, reputation and locality to the project.” “Seeking to influence the choice of designer is not something we insist upon, it’s not a brand standard,” says Shepherd. “We have to explain the benefits and rationale behind it – which is to help the owner and their team to deliver better returns by delivering a great guest experience that leads to premium RevPARs.” Similarly the company does not get IHG was the first international chain to launch a global boutique brand, Hotel Indigo, in 2004. The brand was introduced to Europe in 2009 and there are now 25* European hotels in the system and pipeline combined. EachHotelIndigopropertyisuniquelydesignedtoreflecttheneighbourhood, character and history of the surrounding area. The neighbourhood story is the defining feature of the Hotel Indigo branded boutique concept and the heart and soul of every Hotel Indigo property. David Rayner, Director of Design, Europe at IHG said: “Hotel Indigo hotels typically feature vibrant colour palettes, hard surface flooring, oversized beds and spa inspired rainfall showers. The design language responds to the current market trend for personalised stylish hotels that resonate with our guests whilst at the same time meet our owner’s expectations. People are tired of going to hotels and feeling like they could be anywhere in the world. They want individuality.” Hotel Indigo Tel Aviv – Diamond District opened in August 2013. The hotel has 91 rooms, a spa, rooftop pool and a restaurant. Nestled in the bustling Ramat Gan Diamond Exchange District exuding charm and eclectic architecture, the design of Hotel Indigo Tel Aviv – Diamond District tells the neighbourhood story through a careful balance of art, science, colour and natural light. The owner’s overall vision in terms of the guest-facing elements for the entire property were complemented with advice and direction from IHG’s Design team and which no doubt helped to establish the hotel identity to delight guests immediately upon arrival at this surprising brownstone edifice with a welcoming ironwork canopy above a wide pedestrian sidewalk. This cosmopolitan blend both captures and reflects the very essence of Tel Aviv and the Ramat Gan Diamond District. With spa-styled bathrooms and guestrooms in multiple configurations, the look and feel captures the re-interpretation of the world’s most precious stone, “The Diamond”. Captivating design features and accents paying homage to this precious gem can be found throughout the hotel. Philippe Bijaoui, IHG’s Vice President of Development for Europe said: “Hotel Indigo hotels offer guests the individuality of a boutique hotel with the reassurance and reliability of a big hotel brand. The brand is popular with developers because of the flexible approach to design, which makes it ideal for conversion properties, which are easier to finance than newbuilds and can be operational in a shorter period of time.” HOTEL INDIGO FEATURE: IHG DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS® Holiday Inn Express® is one of the fastest growing hotel brands in the market and part of the IHG® brand family. There are over 200 Holiday Inn Express hotels across Europe, with 10 hotels in the pipeline for Russia and CIS and 16 hotels in the pipeline for Germany*. Designed to be the right choice for value- conscious business and leisure travellers, it is “Simple, Smart and Spot On”. Robert Shepherd, Chief Development Officer, Europe said: “We want to be number one in Germany. Our growth in this country is being driven by the mid-scale market and Holiday Inn Express hotels are proving very popular.” Equally, IHG has made no secret of its commitment to growth in Russia, and has previously announced plans to have 100 hotels across Russia and the remainder of the CIS open and in the pipeline by 2020. With a plan to work with local investors to introduce managed and franchised hotels across the country, IHG plans to fill demand for internationally branded hotels across regional centres and new fast- growing cities. To meet demand for affordable internationally branded hotels in Russia, IHG has partnered with Regional Hotel Chain to roll out 15 Holiday Inn Express hotels by 2019. To keep costs down and ensure quality and consistency while speeding up construction, all 150 guestrooms of the new Holiday Inn Express Voronezh – Kirova will be built in Germany by ADK Modelraum and then imported into Russia. The hotel is due to open in early 2014. The Holiday Inn Express hotel guestroom won ‘Hotel Brand of the Year’ at the 2010 European Hotel Design awards. Natalia Aristova, Director of Design for Russia and CIS, IHG said: “Its flexible design lends itself perfectly to modular construction techniques. Every element of the room can be pre-fabricated on a production line, from the walls and the windows to the furniture and carpets. Guest bathrooms offering chrome fittings, a granite vanity surface, clean white sanitaryware and a power shower can be fully constructed off-site and installed as a module on-site.” Adding: “Turn Key Modular Hotel Construction takes only nine months as opposed to 12-14 months for traditional construction, which makes the modular system extremely efficient. In Russia the high quality prefabricated modules eliminates the need for sprinkler protection of the building which significantly reduces costs.” The Holiday Inn Express hotel public areas benefit from smart design which helps keep operating costs low. The reception desk and bar is always connected and located adjacent to the Great Room, a breakfast/reception area, enabling staff to serve guests and multi task. The efficient design and a modular approach to construction have created a win-win for investors by reducing build and operating costs and maximising revenue generating space. “Expanding in Europe is a key priority for us. Demand for midscale limited service hotels in Russia is growing, and the first Holiday Inn Express hotel in Russia presents an exciting opportunity for Russian travellers to try the brand. The growth of the Holiday Inn brand family in Russia is a testament to the strength of the brand for both owners and guests,” said Shepherd. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013 WWW.SLEEPERMAGAZINE.COM116 117WWW.SLEEPERMAGAZINE.COM NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013
directly involved in procurement, although it will recommend suppliers who have worked successfully on its projects in the past. In the case of a prototypical product such as Holiday Inn Express® Hotels, it has a list of approved suppliers for guestroom FF&E with which it has negotiated prices. The team, says Shepherd, are there to help find solutions rather than acting as “brand police,” though brand standards are still at the heart of the company’s ethos. “Brand standards aren’t going to go away, they are the foundation of being a brand, everything this team does hinges off the standards required to create the desired guest experience.” To this end, a global initiative to revamp the standards for IHG’s portfolio of brands is currently under way. “Over time they get added to.You come to a point where you need to look at them afresh,” says Shepherd. “During the repositioning of Holiday Inn® Hotels, we looked at the brand standards to make sure they were relevant and ROI-savvy. Crowne Plaza is next.We’re working through all of the brands to update standards – not just the content but how we provide those to owners via an underlying technology platform, and making them concise, precise, and easy-to-use.The challenge is to keep brand consistency and provide a framework for interpretation. It’s a collaborative process.” And what of those brands? As with other major hotel groups, the company has become increasingly brand-focused as it has divested its owned properties.The company claims to have “a brand for every guest – and a brand for every owner.” FEATURE: IHG DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS & RESORTS InterContinental is a brand of firsts. It was the world’s first international hotel brand and continues to be a leader in the luxury hotel market. It is also the first hotel brand to provide destination-specific concierge websites and videos. The brand continues to demonstrate strong growth with over 170* hotels open across the globe in over 65 countries and 52 hotels in the pipeline. The pipeline includes properties in China and India, and recently celebrated the opening of InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin, IHG’s 200th hotel in China. The new InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu opened its doors in May 2013. Located at the foot of Le Panier, the oldest part of the city, the 18th century building and listed monument has been transformed from the former Hotel Dieu into a majestic luxury hotel. After three full years of renovation, during which archaeological artefacts were discovered, the InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu stands as an iconic building in the city. As Marseille has been crowned the European Capital of Culture this year, the hotel has been thrust into the cultural spotlight attracting international attention. The hotel was largely designed by world- renowned hotel designer Jean-Philippe Nuel, with the support of IHG’s Design and Engineering team, to ensure that the hotel not only represents the essence of the InterContinental brand but remains part of the story of the destination, positively impacting on the city and delivering an experience that helps to keep the global guest‘In the Know’. The architecture of the hotel has remained faithful to the history of the property and the complex refurbishment work for the listed monument was designed to conserve, restore and enhance the building’s heritage. Today its 194 rooms, superb staircases and spacious lobby draw inspiration from French 18th century architecture, the cultural city of Marseille and the Mediterranean ocean. The character of the building has been brought to life through the careful use of raw materials and a deliberate use of space. From the Estaque quarter to Marseille’s cornice, the hotel’s lobby and rooms embrace these themes. Sculptures of enamelled fish, combed cotton carpets that recall the sand and black and white stones of the Sainte-Marie Majeur cathedral are central to the hotel’s design. Miguel Ruano, Vice President, Design and Engineering, commented: “InterContinental is our flagship brand and we’re committed to ensuring it stays relevant to the evolving needs of the luxury hotel market. The InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu has fully embraced its surroundings and its elegant architecture humbly amplifies the hotel’s charm.” NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013 WWW.SLEEPERMAGAZINE.COM118
Brands such as InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn are household names which continue to build in scale. Newer brands such as the boutique Hotel Indigo and extended stay Staybridge Suites are growing fast in Europe. Are there any new brands in the pipeline? In spite of the recent introduction of new brands such as Hualuxe™ Hotels & Resorts, created specifically for the Chinese market, and Even™ Hotels, a new brand for health conscious travellers introduced in NewYork in 2011, Shepherd believes that in Europe there is enough headroom for growth of its established brands. “The European pipeline has seen great growth, demonstrating not only the strength of IHG’s brands, but also the depth of talent and the strength of our integrated Development, Design and Openings team. In 2012 we signed 48 new hotels; up almost 25% on 2011.The European pipeline currently stands at 93 hotels and continues to grow. Right now in Europe it’s important we focus our resources, and to have lots of subscale brands doesn’t deliver the same results to our owners or to IHG, as having scale in a smaller number of brands – we don’t want to spread ourselves too thin.” “Ultimately it’s about engagement and helping to open the best possible hotels for our owners,” concludes Shepherd. “Our purpose is to create ‘Great Hotels Guests Love’.We’re signing ten, fifteen, or even twenty year agreements with our owners – that’s a long term relationship, and it has to be set up right. It’s a long process to design and open a hotel and it’s important that owners choose someone they get along with, and whose interests are aligned.” www.development.ihg.com/europe *FOOTNOTE: All figures for development and pipeline used within this article were correct as at 30th June 2013 FEATURE: IHG DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT STAYBRIDGE SUITES HOTELS Entering the hospitality market in the Americas in 1998, Staybridge Suites® Hotels is IHG’s upscale extended stay hotel brand. Designed to meet the needs of guests who stay in hotels for weeks or even months at a time, the concept behind this brand centres on a ‘home away from home’ for business travellers and families. With 191* properties open across the world, the Staybridge Suites brand is well established and is continuing to make progress with 76 Staybridge Suites Hotels in the pipeline globally. Staybridge Suites Hotels offer innovative spacious apartment-style living with modern amenities and hotel services. Amenities include: three suite types (deluxe studio, one- bedroom and two-bedroom/two-bath) with fully equipped kitchens, highly functional work areas, two-line speaker phone with voicemail and direct dial access, as well as free local calls and free WiFi. Staybridge Suites Hotels offer a complimentary full breakfast buffet and a social evening reception three days a week. The fitness room, business centre, complimentary guest laundry room (an industry first) and a local grocery shop are open 24-hours-a-day. IHG worked with Westfield, ADS Design and Franklin & Ellis Architects to conceptualise the design of the 162-room Staybridge Suites London Stratford City, the first of its kind to open in London. Artwork is a defining aspect of Staybridge Suites Hotels and careful consideration has been given to ensure the interior of the hotel reflects the simplicity of the brand. Imagery depicting the culture and environment of East London and legacy of the 2012 Olympics adorns the walls of the hotel creating a relaxed and charming atmosphere. Miguel Ruano, Vice President, Design and Engineering, commented: “The design concept of Staybridge Suites Hotels takes on an upscale residential style. Our team worked hard to successfully maximise floor area space and input carefully considered functional features to improve guest experience whilst maximising owners’return on investment.” The hotel is well located for easy access to the central business district, Excel Exhibition and Convention Centre and Canary Wharf. Stunning views of the Olympic Park and London skyline from the reception have influenced the layout of the hotel’s public spaces. Staybridge Suites London Stratford City is the third in the UK alongside Liverpool and Newcastle, which opened in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Staybridge Suites Birmingham opens in Autumn 2013. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013 WWW.SLEEPERMAGAZINE.COM120
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