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TV Technology Downsizes for the Better

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TV Technology Downsizes for the Better

When it comes to TVs, bigger is not always better. Today, they are lighter, thinner and cheaper than ever before. New sleek, flat-screen TVs have allowed designers to move TVs out of bulky cupboards or wall units and integrate them into non-traditional areas. This flexibility allows suppliers an unprecedented level of intricacy in how their products are integrated into guest rooms. Luxury TV designer Séura is making waves with their new line of slim LCD TV mirrors that add a twist to traditional bathroom design. With the press of a button, a Séura screen will appear in a mirror, and totally disappear when turned off. This vanishing effect is notable because it allows a guest the freedom to use the technology without affecting overall guest room design. “TV mirrors are a creative way to provide access to media without compromising the design of a space,” says Gretchen Gilberson, co-founder and vice president of Séura. “They allow you to preserve the original design intent of the room as opposed to sacrificing aesthetic appeal to accommodate distracting electronics. Ambiance, after all, is as important as the most sought-after electronic gizmo.” TV mirrors also allow designers to implement complex styling at will; mirror glass can be etched or illuminated to add an artful impression to any mirror and, when combined with a vanishing TV, can create a totally unique image. TV Technology Downsizes for the BetterAt The Chatwal in New York, Séura vanishing TVs were integrated into every guest room bathroom to accentuate the hotel’s high-tech renovation. Going Three-Dimensional When it comes to making an unforgettable impact on guests, 3D HDTV is the new frontier for the hospitality industry. LG’s new commercial passive 3D HDTV uses polarized lenses to create a theater-quality 3D effect for viewers without the heavy, expensive glasses consumers are used to. Purchased in bulk, 3D glasses for LG’s passive 3D HDTV cost about $1 a pair. The TVs are capable of producing crisp 2D HDTV images as well, and have a slim form-factor with low energy-consumption similar to other flat panel LCDs installed in guest rooms. LG’s 3D HDTV is a boon to designers too: it offers next-generation fidelity without requiring more space or energy than most modern TVs. “The good news for designers is that form factors are much more aesthetically pleasing and functionally much more helpful,” says Richard Lewis, senior vice president of Research and Technology at Zenith Electronics. LG has also released more traditional flatscreen LCD TVs with their proprietary Pro: Centric technology, which allows hotels to push content to guests and enables guests to run applications on their in-room TV without any bulky additional boxes and components. “The transition from analog to digital has opened up the opportunity to bring computing power into the TV,” says Lewis of the Pro:Centric system’s capability to run applications. Global content providers such as LodgeNet and Acentic have already signed on to support Pro:Centric, and the TVs can run content designed in Java and Flash. “It’s become a worldwide platform,” says Lewis. “If you’re a large multinational brand, you can have consistency of experience across the world.”

Andrew Sheivachman

Hotel Design, December 2010


Electric Mirror, LLC the world leader in Back-Lit Mirrors and Mirror TV technology

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Electric Mirror

Leaving an unforgettable impression on guests, Mirror TVs are the new standard for luxury hotels. The surprising experience and high-tech luxury drive guests to visit again and again. Electric Mirror’s® design team works directly with interior designers and hotel owners to ensure that every Mirror TV not only offers a surprising element of technology to guest baths and spas, but also fully integrates and enhances the overall design concept for a project. Electric Mirror® is the World Leader in Mirror TV Technology™, utilizing 1-inch thick LCD-TVs that are the brightest available. Electric MirrorElectric Mirror’s® designs are unsurpassed in technology and their fashion-forward aesthetic.

MIRROR TV TECHNOLOGY Electric Mirror’s® Mirror TV’s utilize ultra-bright, high-definition LCD-TV technology while maintaining an amazing 1-inch thick profile. Our Mirror TV’s are Energy-Star compliant and registered. On-Screen Display offers language support in Spanish, French and English.

BOE™ Technology Treat your guests to the luxury of a Mirror TV at an entry level pricepoint. Using the brightest mirror possible, BOE technology allows 99% of the LCD-TVs brightness to display when in the on position. Electric MirrorWhen turned off, the TV screen appears as a black screen. AV-Mirror™ Technology The best of both worlds,

AV-Mirror Technology uses the brightest mirror possible while camouflaging the TV screen when in the off position. Appearing as a reflective surface that varies in brightness from the surrounding mirror when turned off, AV Technology allows the ultra-bright LCD-TV to display 99% of its brightness and color when turned on.

V-Mirror™ Technology For the ultimate element of surprise, Mirror TVs utilizing V-Mirror Technology allow the TV screen to completely vanish when turned off. Electric Mirror® uses the brightest LCD-TVs on the market to offer the clearest picture to transmit when turned on. The reflection of V-Mirror is darker than that of AV and BOE technologies.


Comfort, Not Modernity, Is The New Wave

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Percentage wise, hotels split their efforts between room and bathroom approximately 50/50. Today’s designs show that a bathroom can occupy up to almost a third of the space of the entire room. “People want a luxurious bathroom in a hotel room,” says Jan Clausen, principal and owner of Clausen-Chewning interior design. “With hotels you want the bathroom to be a little more grand than what you might have at home.” Among the trends in today’s market, Clausen says that fourand five-fixture bathrooms rank high and that this trend is still a wave of the future. ComfortIncorporating natural light is also at the top of the trend list. Clausen recently completed a project at the Four Seasons Residences in Denver, where she was adamant about capitalizing on natural light. “At the residences, we positioned the bathrooms so that the doors open to the bedroom so you can always look at natural light and capture views of the mountains,” she says. All of the residential bathrooms, whether they are the second or master bathroom, have natural light in them. The aim in the resort world, especially in warmer climates, is to get rid of the division between indoor and outdoor, especially in terms of the bathroom. This includes outdoor showers and other outdoor bathing experiences so that guests can maximize on the natural environment. Clausen has also worked on the bathrooms in the guest rooms at Mandarin Oriental, Miami and One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives. “Cozy” is a term that is sure to be thrown around a lot more with bathroom design. “There is a subtle underlying movement away from the pure modernist idea and back to historical elements executed in a modern way,” says Colum McCartan, principal of design firm McCartan. Big, open showers are on their way out, as they can often create a colder environment, however trendy they may look. “I have a feeling we’ll be putting doors back on showers very soon.” Clausen agrees that this cozy model has been catching on for the last couple of years. Comfort“Especially in light of the economic downturn,” she says, “people want to feel cozier.” The move away from the futuristic bathroom model translates to the fixtures, as well. “A lot of modern fixtures are so cleanline and pure than on first usage guests are a little unsure as to what lever does what. I anticipate a move back to a literal explanation as to the way things are designed,” says McCartan. Todd Weber, director of product public relations for Kohler Co., says that some of the most popular items ordered from Kohler are contemporary-styled products such as the single-lever faucets, toilets and sinks. Green design is a constant trend. “Many hotel chains are choosing shower receptors constructed of cast iron because of the material’s durability, and these products are constructed from 93 percent recycled and reclaimed materials,” says Weber. Kohler fixtures can be found in many top hotel chains including Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis.

Meagan Drillinger

Hotel Design, October 2010


Redefining the high-end hotel market for today

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Deluxe guestroom at the peninsula shanghai

It should come as no surprise. The definition of luxury has changed, thanks to the economy, changing guest expectations, and new travelers. Gold leaf and crystal chandeliers have been replaced with local materials and modern touches, and grandiose gestures have been substituted for personalized service. And it’s not changing back anytime soon. For more insight, we went straight to the experts, asking four veterans from four luxury hotel companies a series of questions surrounding this changing segment. They discuss customizing guests’ experiences, expansion plans, and keeping Gen X and Y travelers entertained.

HD: In today’s market, how would you define luxury? How has it changed since you started in the business?

Redefining the high-end hotel market for todayHorst Schulze, CEO, Capella Hotels and Resorts: In the last 25 years, it has changed dramatically. Up to about 30 years ago, luxury was a huge lobby with glass elevators. Luxury has evolved into individuality. We started Capella because individuality has become more and more a demand from the top-end traveler. [Former Ritz-Carlton president Schulze launched Capella under his newly formed West Paces Hotel Group in 2005; now the brand has six properties open in Austria, Germany, Mexico, Singapore, and Colorado, with three planned in Japan, Riviera Maya, Mexico, and Ireland.] For them it’s not, ‘I will buy what you offer me,’ it’s ‘I will create what I want.’ The top customer wants a product the way they want it. ‘Don’t tell me check-in time is 1:00. I am coming at 9.’ ‘It’s not on menu, but here is what I want.’ Capella hotels have 100 rooms max, so that we can take care of each individual.

Redefining the high-end hotel market for todayRobert Boulogne, COO, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts: I have spent a lot of time wondering does luxury define what Rosewood is today? I have started taking luxury out of our vocabulary. A lot of hotel companies called themselves luxury, but they are not truly luxury. The word is completely overused and completely generic. I am thinking maybe that is not us anymore. I started defining Rosewood by proposition: sense of place, service, residential nature, intimate unique designs; the idea that we are a collection. I have not found a word that describes us.

Redefining the high-end hotel market for todayPeter Borer, COO, Peninsula Hotels: While the traditional measures of luxury are a given at our hotels—for example Rolls-Royce fleets, sumptuous fabrics, gourmet restaurants—the new luxury of today comprises a major intangible. As our lives become ever more busy and hectic with all the communication and travel that go into a day, time is becoming the ultimate luxury—time to be still, to think, to reflect, to plan, to savor the experience when one travels or just to relax and do nothing.

Redefining the high-end hotel market for todayBill Barrie, senior vice president, design, project management, and technical services, Ritz- Carlton: When I joined the company in 2002, we were at the beginning of a big period of growth for the company. We had turned into one look, which was great for us for many years, but we (and our customers) realized we expectation for what they get for the money is growing. They need to spend money wisely, and when they do splurge they want to get something for it. From an amenity standpoint, we believe they are looking for something more experiential—a great spa, something really focused on children and families. We are offering different ways of engaging our guests so they stay with us, and spend more money.

PB: I believe that our guests want that ‘sense of arrival’ as they come to every Peninsula hotel and to experience the destination in more intimate ways through our partnerships forged with the local community. The estrella suite at capella pedregal in cabo san lucas mexicoAs a company we have not laid off anyone. To provide the level of service our guests expect, we highly invest in the training of our people. Even during these difficult times guests who stay with us expect the same level of attention and service if not more.

HS: Guests want truth versus fancy. Furniture made of local hardwood, rather than something fancy from Italy; a cast iron local chandelier rather than Waterford crystal. A sense of place, something real, something that fits in; it’s first class, but locally made. Not something that’s gimmicky, but real. A customer wants to be connected to the culture.

RB: I have a story from a couple of weeks ago that sums this up. Ritz-carlton kapalua spaA reservationist came in curious; she didn’t know who all these new customers were, all asking for discounts and value adds. I went back and researched and it was the same people calling. Exact same customer [as before], but the world has educated them that everything is on sale. [Before] the rate didn’t matter, ‘Do you have any specials or packages’ never used to be a question. In terms of this idea of decadence and overspending, it seems to have found the way into people’s vocabulary a year ago, but today, it is very hushed. People may be buying and renting villas, but they aren’t telling their neighbors. The library at the rosewood sand hill in silicon valleys menlo parkAll of our clients lost money, but they still have money, that’s not the issue. The question is the mindset—it feels inappropriate or insensitive to friends that have lost jobs.

HD: Gen X and Gen Y are changing the face of travel. How are you adapting?

RB: Rosewood’s clientele is a bit older, but we are still attracting Gen X and Y. We have a number of programs that resonate [with these travelers]. We look at things like technology in our guestrooms. Guests can borrow a Flip [UltraHD] digital camera during their stay, download the videos, and walk away with memories. It’s a fun thing. We always think about what we can do for the younger generation. But people want simplicity. Ritz-carlton reserve in krabi island thailandWe don’t want to make these guestrooms complicated. Some of electronics have gotten complicated—we continually strive to make them simple. We also have a presence on the online social networks.

HS: An exciting new thing is there’s much more family-related vacation travel. Three generations are coming in. In our properties, we are including larger suites—three-bedroom, two-bedroom suites. Even though we are a super luxurious place, a large percent of family travel is Gen X and Y. In many ways, they are more adventurous. They want the sports, tours, activities. They want to connect to the world around them, otherwise they get easily bored. They don’t come like people did 30 years ago to sleep and sit on beach.

PB: We started addressing their needs and preferred manner of communication by revamping our website to make it richer in content and also more interactive. The constellation suite at capella singapore a sentosa island hotelWe have launched our online communications through various e-marketing processes and even online gifts and gift certificates purchase. Just recently we launched My Peninsula, the creation of our guests’ online profiles so we can manage their expectations and needs. As far as design is concerned, we are upgrading the technology features in our guestrooms across all our hotels to mirror the communication and entertainment needs of our discerning travelers. We like to provide a comfortable luxurious space in our guestrooms with discreet technology.

BB: Aside from having hotels in the right locations, for the new generation of traveler, that’s multi-national, cultural, and lingual, you have to figure out how to communicate. We are looking at social media. Simon Cooper [president and COO] is now on Twitter, which is a major factor for us. We try to tailor ourselves to their needs but have other guests as well—it’s the question of doing it all and making everyone happy.

HD: Even in this tough economy, each of your brands is expanding. Can you tell us how and where?

BB: [We recently launched] the Ritz-Carlton Reserve, which is a brand extension. Dramatic concierge desk at the newly opened rosewood sand hillThe first one will be Phulay Bay in Thailand. The concept is how do we create another experience— one that’s a get-away destination that’s almost difficult to get to, and you can be as alone or as connected as you want to be, with a greater level of individualized service and casual luxury. We have several properties currently under construction. They tend to be in tough-to-getto places, like the Maldives where you get there by seaplane. [For Ritz-Carlton,] nowhere is off limits. Under construction are Shanghai, Hong Kong, Dubai [existing property expansion], and Bangalore. Internationally we are very focused on Asia, gateway cities are interesting to us. Thailand and Vietnam are showing promise, and the Middle East with new developments in Egypt and possibility Sultan. We will open two LEED properties this year. Charlotte [will be a] LEED Gold property, and Lake Tahoe will open toward the end of the year. PB: We are opening the Peninsula Shanghai in late 2009. We will open Paris in 2012. Located in a magnificent historic building, formerly the Hotel Majestic on Avenue Kleber, just off the Arc de Triomphe on the prestigious Champs Elysees, it will mark our arrival in Europe.

RB: We are looking to open San Miguel outside of Mexico City in 2010. A dressing room at the peninsula shanghai and the royal villa bedroom at phulay bayRosewood Abu Dhabi 2012. Rosewood Dubai opening in 2011. For four or five other projects, it’s a little early to talk about. We have lost three projects, and three or four are on hold that are the traditional residential/hotel model—today, no one is getting financing for that model. In this environment, there are more opportunities for conversions. We have already been getting calls for those. [In terms of our new brand Sense spa] we just opened one at Sand Hill. We will open Jumby Bay in December. What was happening in the spa world, which was not very different than the restaurant world, was that when we were speaking to developers they kept asking what our spa concept was—we are going to open a spa, hire a great spa manager. They needed more than that; needed a concept. So we decided to create our own concept that had a brand. We have 10 more in development. HS: We [just] opened Cabo—Mexico offers anything a vacationer can dream about. Japan [opening in 2011 in ski town Niseko] is a hugely important market. The architect is Tadao Ando—the most respected in the country, and the country is excited he is doing a hotel. It’s tough, we had to make adjustments like everyone else, but I’m surprised everyone is so shocked about the economy. Did we really think that the peak for eight or so years would last forever? Ninety percent of Americans are still working. We will do our best and everyone will come out of it. hd;;;

By Stacy Shoemaker Rauen

hospitalitydesign 08/2009


DEDON - exclusive outdoor furniture

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DEDON - exclusive outdoor furniture

A manufacturer of exclusive outdoor furniture, DEDON is one of the world’s leading providers in the industry, and the company has received numerous international design awards. The company, which was founded in 1990 by the former professional soccer player Bobby Dekeyser, revolutionized the outdoor furniture market with its designs within a few years. With over 3,000 employees, DEDON is now represented in more than 80 countries and opened DEDON showrooms in Barcelona,Paris, Hong Kong, Vienna, Hamburg, Milan, Antwerp, Monaco, Athens and,as of November 2009, in Limassol. DEDON - exclusive outdoor furnitureDEDON is placed in the best and most upscale hotels all over the world – from such exotic places as the Fiji Islands to major cities like New York and Hong Kong, in restaurants, hotels, spas and on cruise ships – anywhere in the world DEDON provides guests with the sense of being at home. The most renowned hotels in the world use the unique products from DEDON to create an exquisite atmosphere, a special kind of comfort – a branded guarantee of relaxation and design. DEDON represents distinct design, an unique style and fi rst-rate quality. The multiple uses of DEDON have made its name world-famous.

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