Cover Story - Big boys get in on the design action

    Cover Story | May 2017

    While design hotels are commonly defined as being high on aesthetics, low in room inventory and facility range, and independently run, some have defied that with their association with global hotel chains. Marriott International and AccorHotels, for instance, boast their own design-led hotel brands and the occassional whimsical gem of a property.

    Properties of JW Marriott brand often bring to mind visions of timeless elegance, but the new 244-key JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay, Vietnam is modeled after a magical university and adopts “a design concept focused on the process of learning and discovery and the influence of  (18th century French naturalist) Jean-Baptiste Lemarck”.

    Ramesh Daryanani, vice president, global sales – Asia-Pacific (excluding Greater China), Marriott International, said unique highlights at the hotel include the Lamarck Auditorium grand ballroom, which showcases a series of vintage atlases; and uniquely designed meeting rooms, each with their own story to tell, such as the Room of Bad Inventions where quirky references to failed designs and ideas can be found.


    So Sofitel HI-SO bar

    So Sofitel HI-SO bar

    Marriott International’s W hotels are also strong design-led products that have earned the favour of creative and media industry clients. Within this collection are also “unique spaces that are custom-built for a specific objective”.

    Daryanani said: “For example, W Bali houses the first W Hotels’ Soundsuite, a professional recording studio that (welcomes) corporate companies wanting a creative teambuilding venue.”

    AccorHotels’ So Sofitel label also seeks to satiate the growing desire for unique, design-driven event venues. According to spokesperson Karen Chang, So Sofitel Bangkok reels guests in right from the start with “amplified amusement, vibrant lounges, innovative cocktails and novel cuisine”.

    At So Sofitel Singapore, HI-SO bar is a gem for creative gatherings, with its “chic open-air terrace and stunning golden-titled pool”.

    She said: “Creative businesses are drawn more to boutique hotels, and high-end clients want unique spaces and inspiring venues that such properties offer. Smaller firms and entrepreneurs are also seeking boutique hotels to give their delegates an exciting experience that is out of the ordinary.” – Barathi Narayan

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