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EVENTS


ABOVE: Delegates network and exchange ideas during the Round Table session RIGHT, TOP TO BOTTOM: Tara Bernerd explores the idea of luxury in her keynote speech; Those with access to the VIP lounge were lucky enough to benefit from relaxing massages courtesy of Grohe; The event provided the opportunity for suppliers, designers and architects to discover new products and ventures


which students were invited to design the staff experience for a fictitious 440-key hotel in a major European city centre. Leading professionals from this specialist field were joined on stage by Lisa Visintainer, a member of the winning team from the University of Applied Science in Coburg, Germany. Their concept, entitled ‘Rund um’ (German for ‘all around’) for its holistic approach, included a canteen, recreation lounge, changing facilities and training hub. The concept was praised for taking into account layout, flow and styling and the winning team has been asked to work with Michael Gray on the refurbishment of staff areas at Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, progress of which will be covered in these pages. Gray, General Manager of the hotel and Area Director for Hyatt in the UK and Ireland, proved an avid supporter of the happy-staff-equals-happy-guests mantra, believing that employees should have an arrival experience in the same way that guests do, although the panel warned of the difficulty in persuading owners to give up precious front-of-house space for staff facilities.


A keynote speech from Tara Bernerd


followed in which the designer of luxury London hotel Belgraves – which was shortlisted in no less that four European Hotel Design Awards categories – explored the evolution of luxury. Having completed a wide range of projects including the re-design of 4,000 lodges for Center Parcs, Bernerd announced she is currently working on two further properties for Thompson Hotels. Day two of the conference kicked off


with ‘Investment Morning’, a series of panels that brought together experts from different disciplines to examine repositioning and change of use opportunities. Senior executives from Yoo, DLA Piper and Deloitte addressed issues of investment in UK provincial hotels, designing lobbies as commercially viable spaces, and sources of funding. Representatives from hotel groups Rezidor, Hilton, InterContinental and Qbic followed with a discussion on change of use. Andrea Brandenberger, Director of Feasibility, Planning and Analysis at Rezidor, stated the main attributes for assessing the potential of converting office or residential


108 JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2013 WWW.SLEEPERMAGAZINE.COM


space to hotel use: location, flexibility of the building, and cost. Patrick Fitzgibbon, Senior Vice President of Development for Europe and Africa at Hilton, believed that there is a real opportunity for change of use, particularly in the mid-market and economy sectors. In agreement, Miguel Ruano, Vice President Design & Engineering at InterContinental Hotels Group revealed that 30% of IHG’s pipeline are in fact conversions. Panelists highlighted the huge opportunity in converting office space to hotels as firms move to purpose-built out-of-town


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