HD Talks

Soft Brand Shuffle

Posted by on December 17, 2014 in Trends | 0 comments

I have to hand it to UK-based InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) for acquiring Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants for $430 million. It’s such a smart strategic move that it almost makes us forget all the recent announcements of lifestyle, Millennial-focused brands that took over the industry news cycle in the fall.

In a conference call with media yesterday, IHG CEO Richard Solomons, said the addition of Kimpton will only complement, not compete, with its lifestyle brand EVEN and boutique-style property Hotel Indigo, giving IHG the edge as the leading lifestyle and boutique hotel business with 200 open and pipeline properties.

This year especially, there has been a focus on the rise of soft brands. IHG did this in a different (and perhaps better?) way. On the heels of Hilton’s Curio launch or Marriott International’s growing Autograph collection, acquiring Kimpton gets IHG into the soft brand game without having to seek out boutique properties around the globe. Continue reading →

The Color Wars

Posted by on December 10, 2014 in Trends | 0 comments

What does a color say about you? That sounds like a New Age trope, but post-Pantone’s revelation of Marsala as its color of the year, we could ask that same question to the color-predicting leader. What do we expect from Pantone’s color of the year choices? I was neither offended nor overly enthusiastic about the choice. At first, I was underwhelmed, thinking it was drab, lacking the vibrance (and pinkness) of last year’s winner Radiant Orchid, but I now see the richness and sophistication in the dark reddish-brown hue.

I ask: If a color is inspired by a wine, can it really be that bad? Pantone says the color embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness.” It’s a warm, welcoming hue, it goes on to say, that adds elegance to any room.


Kravet showcases its collection of Marsala-inspired textiles.

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Designing for the Social Media Generation

Posted by on December 3, 2014 in Trends, Web/Tech | 4 comments

In our December issue (out soon!), I wrote about social media’s affect on customer relations in hotels. I’ll be the first to admit that social media is a heavily covered topic, especially in this industry, but there’s a simple explanation for that: It’s always evolving. Who knew how important Twitter would be to customer relations a few years back? Or how powerful Instagram could be in evoking a sense of place with just a simple photo and the right filter? Now, we can all make our own time lapse videos.

Initially, I was reluctant to ask my sources about how design plays a part on social media strategy. They do seem, on first appearance, unrelated, but Benji Greenberg, CEO and founder of BCV, a social media management and strategy company for the industry, told me that “design in hotels today is one of the main aspects you can share on social media to break through the noise.”

Indeed, the two practically go hand-in-hand—and we can probably thank Millennials for that, as they are often the ones posting those hotel photos online, and in doing so, helping to dictate trends. Continue reading →

Above Board

Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Projects | 0 comments

“We wanted to shake up how we thought about a ship and how we felt when we were in the rooms,” explained Genevieve Gorder, the interior designer we all know and love from HGTV design shows such as “Dear Genevieve” and “HGTV Star,” (and, of course, from TLC’s “Trading Spaces”—RIP), to a group of journalists aboard Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas pre-inaugural sailing a couple of weeks ago. Gorder has served as the ship’s experience advisor for design, working hand-in-hand with the company’s in-house design team to create the staterooms and suites aboard the massive, high-tech cruise ship.

Quantum of the Seas  features 16 guest decks and weighs more than 168,000 gross registered tons.

Quantum of the Seas features 16 guest decks and weighs more than 168,000 gross registered tons.

Gorder’s work, along with Baltimore-based RTKL (a longtime collaborator with Royal Caribbean who created the bases for the rooms), encompassed the ship’s 2,090 staterooms, including the Royal Loft suite that spans nearly 2,300 square feet including its private balconies. Continue reading →

What’s Trending Now

Posted by on November 19, 2014 in Trends | 0 comments

Trends are generally hard to nail down. This coming from someone who swore she’d never own a pair of skinny jeans (I now own them all) but certainly had no problem buying a poncho in the early aughts (please forgive me). But in the design world, it’s not just about knowing what makes a trend but how to make it timeless and relevant.

Last Tuesday, I got the chance to head to the Durkan showroom for  a customer insight meeting, where the prolific Stacy Garcia talked about current trends, future trends, and how to apply them to hospitality projects.

Current Trends:

1. Midcentury Ideal. This Mad Men-inspired aesthetic plays on the desire for nostalgia. “Consumers are looking for things of the past,” Garcia says, adding it’s about the desire for simplification and a life before technology.


The Mayweather sofa from Khouri Guzman Bunce Lininger highlights the midcentury style, a current trend.

Continue reading →