AHEAD, the Awards for Hospitality Experience and Design, revealed its winners at The Capitol Theatre Singapore on 7 March.
The awards celebrate design in all its forms and the guest experience it creates in hospitality projects worldwide. A panel of judges, comprising industry leading hoteliers, architects, and interior designers, assessed entries on their aesthetic excellence, guest experience and commercial viability.
The event is the first of eight regional award ceremonies taking place around the world in 2017 and 2018, celebrating the best new hotels in Asia, the Americas, the Middle East & Africa, and Europe.
These regional heats will culminate in a Global Biennale in 2019, which will see the winners of the regional heats compete head-to-head to decide a worldwide winner in each category.
AHEAD Director, Matt Turner comments: “The judges had a tough job on their hands choosing winners of the inaugural AHEAD Asia awards as the standard was exceptionally high across the board. The winners were selected for their exceptional design and its contribution to the guest experience in these outstanding hotel properties.”
The winners were:
Bar, Club & Lounge – Akademi at Katamama, Seminyak, Bali
The judges applauded Akademi for reinventing the traditional lobby bar as a place for learning and meeting, as well as drinking.
Guestrooms – Akyra Manor Hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Akya Manor Hotel was praised for its “clean lines, urban feel and interesting use of FF&E to deliver a unique indoor/outdoor guest experience.”
Hotel Renovation & Restoration – The Edison George Town, Penang
‘Charming’, ‘beautiful’ and ‘authentic’ were just a few of the words the judges used to described the way Edison’s designers have respected a classic and original building, while injecting a new personality into it.
Landscaping & Outdoor Spaces – Keemala, Phuket, Thailand
The judges commented that the landscaping of Keemala has created truly memorable experiences for everyone who stays there. The natural way it integrates into its environment, with guestrooms nestled into the jungle surroundings, was considered respectful and restrained.
Lobby & Public Spaces – Four Seasons Hotel, Seoul, Korea
This project was singled out for its sense of sanctuary, and the way it welcomes in its guests – a clever use of space with a strong sense of place. The judges commended Four Seasons Hotel for creating “A wonderful celebration of the heritage of Korea – modern and balanced”.
Resort Hotel – Alila Anji, China
The judges praised the calm, quiet sensitivity of the design, marking ‘a radical departure for resort design in China’. ‘Timeless, modern and classic all at once’ was one judge’s summary.
Restaurant – Colony at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia, Singapore
‘Outstanding Execution – Tony Chi at his very best’ was one of the reactions to this popular Singapore restaurant. Several judges highlighted the way the design breaks down a challenging space to create a variety of dining experiences for its guests – “a different experience each time you visit”.
Spa & Wellness – Four Seasons Hotel, Seoul, Korea
The judges were impressed by the sheer scope of the spa and wellness facilities at the Four Seasons Seoul, from gym and pool through to the treatment areas, praising its design team for creating a “Tranquil and rejuvenating” environment for locals and international travellers alike.
Suite – Ambassador Suite at Grand Hyatt, Hong Kong
‘Comfortable, warm, detailed and disciplined’ were just a few of judges’ comments on this luxurious suite at the Grand Hyatt, whose aspirational design offers a ‘definitive feeling of an upgrade’.
Urban Hotel – Hoshinoya, Tokyo
Hoshinoya was a clear winner in its category. The judges praised its “Amazing concept and aesthetics”, combining architecture, landscape and interiors to create modern interpretation of the traditional Ryokan.
Visual Identity of the Year – Coo, Singapore
COO Singapore was selected for the way its branding spoke clearly to its target audience of millennial travellers. The judges felt its clever use of graphics, artwork and signage has been combined with its innovative online presence ‘COO Connect’ allowing guests to link up with like- minded guests.
New Concept of the Year – Hoshinoya, Tokyo
This modern take on the traditional Japanese ryokan impressed the judges with its innovative approach to hospitality, combining contemporary design with traditional craftsmanship.
Outstanding Contribution – Kerry Hill
With a career in hotel design spanning some 40 years, Kerry Hill has been a pioneer of resort design across Asia and beyond. The judges of AHEAD Asia were delighted to honour his outstanding contribution to the industry, from early works such as the The Datai in Langkawi, and the Chedi Bandung, through to recent projects such as Aman Tokyo and COMO The Treasury Hotel in Perth, Australia.
AHEAD Asia Hotel of The Year 2017 – Hoshinoya, Tokyo
Winning three awards on the night, Hoshinoya was recognised for creating ‘beautiful urban spaces’ and using local materials and traditions to create a truly unique guest experience. The hotel captured the imagination of all the judges who felt it was a clear winner.