Design of the Times

After 13 years of producing Lodging Hospitality's design contest, the editors have decided to take a different approach to this popular feature. While well received, we've found the number and quality of applicants has declined over the past few years. Our hunch is that with the increased focus and interest in hospitality design in both the trade and consumer press, the number of design contests and other outlets for exposure has grown as well.

We thought, why depend on the whim of applicants that may or may not cross our desks? Why not simply collect, and publish, exciting and design-forward projects that WE like and present them as our own salute to design excellence?

And so, that's what you'll see here — carefully considered projects that represent some of the most creative, functional and design-forward work being created for the hotel industry today. Enjoy.

Sofitel Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Interior Design: Cheryl Rowley and Yabu Pushelberg

Following a nine-month, $40-million-plus refurbishment, the Sofitel LA elegantly blends French sophistication with the energetic pulse of Hollywood. The project reflects the distinctive, modernist sensibility of the design team of George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, whose redesign transformed all of the Sofitel's public spaces, from the dramatic two-story lobby, restaurant, bar and pool area to a luxurious new spa.

For the guestrooms, Cheryl Rowley chose striking lacquers in cream, cinnabar and chartreuse with Macassar Ebony and limed white oak finishes, adding Hollywood glamour to the hotel. Seating is upholstered with rich velvets in a sexy chocolate and blond color palette.

Hotel Palomar Dallas

Dallas

Interior Design: Cheryl Rowley

Cheryl Rowley is at the top of her game. Here, again, she demonstrates her dominance in hotel design with her contribution to the $90-million property transformation, part of a mixed-use redevelopment. “Our inspiration for the Hotel Palomar Dallas was the inseparable rural and urban Texas landscape,” says Rowley. “An earth-toned palette expressed within linear and repeating forms captures the spirit of the Dallas skyline set on an open Texas plane.”

Textural and visual juxtaposition of leather and velvet, animal print and geometric patterns, combined with warm woods and weathered metals highlight Dallas' contrast of the Southern plains against the Metroplex skyline, relates Rowley. Comfortable sofas, chaises and chairs placed amongst floating wood screen “walls” offer cozy areas within the openness.

Each guestroom features cerused headboard frames with upholstered taupe panels and artful accessories. Geometric shapes and patterns reflect the hotel's overall rhythm, albeit in a more sedate manner.

The Tides

South Beach, FL

Interior Design: Kelly Wearstler (kwid)

Trend-setting designer (and judge on Bravo TV's reality show “Top Design”) Kelly Wearstler has brought her elegant and eclectic vision to the iconic Tides, now a Kor Hotel. Wearstler was inspired by The Tides' original Art Deco bone structure and its beachfront spirit. She has layered her “waterborne vision” of organic materials, rich textures, sunset colors and vintage-inspired elements over the property's historic base to create a vibrant and sexy remix of The Tides “past, present and future.”

The Tides will serve as Kor Hotels' prototype for The Tides brand, which is expanding under Kor (Tides Playa Del Carmen is slated to open in July 2008).

Galleria Park Hotel

San Francisco

Interior Design: Bronstein + Leis

Following a $7.1-million renovation, the former Sutter Hotel, built in 1911, has been rechristened the Galleria Park Hotel by boutique hotelier Joie de Vivre Hospitality. A mixture of elements from different eras — Art Deco, vintage and mid-century — arranged in an eclectic manner, uphold the hotel's historic ambiance while adding a modern feel. Designers Marni Leis and Oren Bronstein brought a freshness to the lobby area with bold gold tones, subdued blues and greens, while artwork sourced from San Francisco's Lost Art Salon adds a sense of place.

Original marble staircases, detailed iron railings and a beautiful Art Noveau fireplace have been restored to their original glories.

The 177 refurbished guestrooms now feature amenities tailored to the needs of the sophisticated traveler including flatscreen TVs, alarm clocks with MP3 connectors and Frette linens and bathrobes.

US Grant

San Diego

Interior Design: a team of international designers and artists led by Deniece Duscheone

The historic US Grant, a Luxury Collection Hotel, reopened late last year following a $52-million renovation and restoration by its owner, the Sycuan band of the Kumeyaay Nation. Modern accents complement the traditional decor. Commissioned works of art, hand-made silk carpets, exotic woods and marbles, white gold leafing and custom designed furnishings impart opulence and drama to the striking interiors of this lavishly restored Beaux Arts beauty.

Public spaces are enhanced by original bronze sculptures and custom carpets, including a $250,000 silk rug hand-loomed in Thailand. It was designed for the hotel's lobby and features a repeating primrose pattern as a subtle tribute to Sycuan since the tribal name means yellow primrose in the language of the people. Also, original art by Native American artists decorates each guestroom foyer and bath and large artworks by Yves Clement have been blended into the headboard of each bed.

Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers

New York, NY

Interior Design: Stonehill & Taylor

The former Americana hotel boasts some impressive credentials. It was designed in the 1960s by architect Morris Lapidus, famous for his Miami Beach work at hotels like the Fountainebleau and Eden Roc. Stonehill & Taylor's $10-million renovation of the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers aims to capture the welcoming ambiance of a turn-of-the-century English equestrian manor. Re-interpreting the style for a modern urban setting, the design team, led by Mike Suomi, applied richly saturated colors, textures and patterns to bring the feel of old-world luxury to Sheraton's flagship hotel.

The Presidential Suite features suede-like wallcovering in a bright red for the Great Room to contrast with bright white painted crown and door moldings, deep blue carpet and dark floors. Furnishings are largely black and white patterned upholstery or black wood and leather accented by red end tables and red throw pillows. Everything feels rich, without being stuffy or uptight.

Hilton President

Kansas City, MO

Interior Design: Gastinger Walker Harden and Design Continuum Inc.

The $45-million restoration of the historic President took nearly four years to complete and serves as a testament to persistence and forward thinking. In fact, many in Kansas City consider the President the cornerstone and catalyst for the development and renaissance of downtown, says GM Philip Strnad.

The hotel had been closed for 25 years and was resurrected by the grit and determination of its developer, Ron Jury. The project was performed to the exacting specifications of the National Historic Preservation Society in many areas of the hotel. The 1926-era lobby is resplendent with gilded columns, carved cornices, tile flooring and marble. The famous Drum Room entertainment lounge has been refreshed without sacrificing the look and feel of a venue that in past years hosted luminaries like Frank Sinatra, Patsy Cline and Harry Houdini.

Guestrooms have been updated with modern conveniences and elegant amenities while retaining the high ceilings and classic details befitting a grande dame such as The President.

Hyatt Key West Resort & Marina

Key West, FL

Interior Design: Morrison Seifert Murphy

Hyatt Key West's renovation brings a fresh and stylish, modern aesthetic to the resort's classic Key West charm. Soothing, luminous colors punctuated by bold detailing impart an intimate spa-like quality throughout. Organic materials such as porcelain, bamboo, glass tile and sheer draped fabric add rich texture and enhance the cooling color scheme.

The guestrooms' white porcelain tile floors create a peaceful, cooling effect while pale bamboo-veneer furnishings and crisp white bed linens create a backdrop for the bold-colored accents of tropical fabric and contemporary artwork.

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