Asia’s best hotel designs 2020 honoured by Ahead

The organisers of Ahead, the Awards for Hospitality Experience and Design had to cancel their awards ceremony due to Covid-19, and so they revealed the winners of its Asia edition via a special webcast on March 12.

The webcast will be followed by a celebratory event on Sept 7, when the Outstanding Contribution Award and Ahead Asia Hotel of the Year winners will be announced.

“We were, sadly, unable to host our award ceremony as originally planned in Singapore due to the coronavirus, but of course the health and safety of our guests is paramount. We remain committed to celebrating the best in hospitality experience and design, so we took the opportunity to try something new and host our first ever awards webcast, ” awards director Matt Turner said.

The Ahead Asia awards recognises the most innovative and outstanding designs across the region.

Dominating the online event was Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, which swept up five awards for its Rosewood Hong Kong and Rosewood Bangkok properties.

Studio Bensley, renowned for its over-the-top projects, won two prizes for Capella Sanya, China, and Hotel de le Coupole, Vietnam.

Meanwhile, a house in an ancient village in China which was transformed into a hotel, embracing the Japanese aesthetics of wabi-sabi, or beauty in imperfection, bagged the Hotel Conversion award.

Taking home the Transport category award was The Oracle, a 35m-yacht that respects the environment and was built using traditional Indonesian boat-making techniques.

Here is the list of winners:

Bar, Club or Lounge: Lennon’s at Rosewood Bangkok, Thailand

This AvroKO-designed speakeasy bar-cum-record shop boasts a 6,000-strong vinyl collection. Guests can also bring their own LPs to be played by the resident DJ. Located on the 30th floor, the space won praise for its rich details and great acoustics.

Lennon’s at Rosewood Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Owen RaggettLennon’s at Rosewood Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Owen Raggett

Guestroom: Grand Hyatt Xi’an, China

Inspired by the rich, multi-cultural history of the Silk Road, LTW Designworks used a palette of sandy brown millwork, textured grey upholstery, earth-toned marble, and ochre-shaded carpeting to give the guestrooms a “warm and inviting feeling”.

Grand Hyatt Xi’an, ChinaGrand Hyatt Xi’an, China

Hotel Conversion: Sunyata Hotel Meili, China

One of 23 households in the ancient, untouched village of Wunongding in Yunnan, this former hostel was restored by Zhao Yang Architects and designer Ke Xie. The hotel follows the philosophy of wabi-sabi through the aged texture of natural materials, salvaged wood, earthy colours, and an aesthetic that focuses on “emptiness”.

Sunyata Hotel Meili, ChinaSunyata Hotel Meili, China

Hotel Newbuild: Rosewood Hong Kong, China

Located at the centre of the Victoria Dockside district, this project pays homage to the Cheng family legacy, who established the iconic New World Centre site in the 1980s on the same site. The eight-year project received praise for being “a truly landmark property that is possibly the most comprehensive expression of the Rosewood brand”.

Rosewood Hong Kong, ChinaRosewood Hong Kong, China

Hotel Renovation and Restoration: Raffles Singapore

After a three-year refurbishment effort led by a line-up of global architecture and design practices, this iconic building reopened to reveal a space that is elegant, graceful yet friendly and lively, with new technological features to enhance guest experience.

Raffles SingaporeRaffles Singapore

Landscaping and Outdoor Spaces: Capella Sanya, China

Capella Sanya’s landscaping represents a modern take on traditional Chinese gardens. The element of water features heavily throughout the hotel which, according to Chinese feng shui, is a symbol of wealth and abundance. It stood out for the good balance in softscape (live horticultural elements of a landscape) and hardscape (man-made features of a landscape).

Capella Sanya, ChinaCapella Sanya, China

Lobby and Public Spaces: Grand Hyatt Xi’an, China

This double-height lobby features patterned timber walls that form wing-like motifs. Meanwhile, a feature wall designed with rows of curved lines and vertical white slats gives off a movement effect.

Grand Hyatt Xi’an, ChinaGrand Hyatt Xi’an, China

Resort: Six Senses Bhutan

This resort connects five of Bhutan’s western and central valleys, with each lodge – Thimphu, Punakha, Paro, Gangtey and Bumthang – portraying different designs that showcase the diversity and special character of each location.

Six Senses BhutanSix Senses Bhutan

Restaurant: Nan Bei at Rosewood Bangkok, Thailand

Inspired by the Chinese legend of the Weaver Girl and the Cowherd, AvroKo has whipped up a luxurious, contemporary dining experience with this restaurant. It features a 7m-high light installation with a moongate screen, blue lacquered ceilings and 800 hand-folded brass metal mesh creations, impressing judges with the level of intricate details and dramatic Art Deco aesthetic.

Nan Bei at Rosewood Bangkok, ThailandNan Bei at Rosewood Bangkok, Thailand

Spa and Wellness: Hôtel de la Coupole, Vietnam

Described as a “showstopper” by judges, the Hôtel de la Coupole tells the story of a marriage between Indochine style and French haute couture. For the spa, world renowned designer Bill Bensley embellished the walls and ceilings with classic cornicing and patterned wallpaper created from local embroidery motifs. Huge green marble columns line the pool, which also features rich pink chandeliers.Hôtel de la Coupole, VietnamHôtel de la Coupole, Vietnam

Transport: The Oracle

Designed by hotelier Alexa Genoyer, the founder of Blue Karma Secrets – an exclusive collection of boutique hotels, villas and boats – The Oracle is a custom-built 35m phinisi, or two-masted yacht, that sails the Indonesian seas.

Its commitment to sustainable and conscious travelling is evident with the use of locally sourced wood and traditional Indonesian boat-building methods.

The OracleThe Oracle

New Concept: Hanare, Tokyo, Japan

This hotel’s concept brings a new meaning to the term “hospitality experience” by integrating guests into the local community and its culture through standalone lodgings, separate check-in and local cafés.

Hanare, Tokyo, JapanHanare, Tokyo, Japan

Visual Identity: Moss Hotel, Australia

Studio Ongarato was tasked with creating an overarching narrative that would complement the hotel’s rich site heritage.

Drawing inspiration from the layering of the old and new, the brand imagery was sourced from the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office, before being combined with rich green textures to create unique layered compositions.

Lodges, Cabins and Tented Camps: The Lindis, Ahuriri Valley, North Otago, New Zealand

Despite its bold geometric steel grid shell, this five-bedroom luxury lodge blends effortlessly into its surroundings by using natural rock, timber and a neutral colour palette throughout the interiors.

The lodge also believes in sustainability and adopts off-grid solutions for energy and water.

The Lindis, Ahuriri Valley, North Otago, New ZealandThe Lindis, Ahuriri Valley, North Otago, New Zealand

Suite: Grand Harbour Corner Suite at Rosewood Hong Kong, China

This corner suite offers guests sweeping panoramic harbour views, making it a comfortable getaway from the bustling city below.

Grand Harbour Corner Suite at Rosewood Hong Kong, ChinaGrand Harbour Corner Suite at Rosewood Hong Kong, China

Event Spaces: Grand Ballroom and Junior Ballroom at Rosewood Hong Kong, China

Tonychi Studio took on a new approach with this inter-connecting event venue. Covering two floors of sun-filled spaces that look out onto the harbour, it also includes an elegant ballroom with a dramatic Skyfold partition (wall partition that retracts like an accordion).

Rosewood Hong KongRosewood Hong Kong

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