The creation of a global chain of hotels under the long-awaited Andaz brand by US hotel group Hyatt will create a host of inter – national design opportunities. The launch of the first hotel last week – the Andaz London, at the site of the Great Eastern Hotel – will be followed by an expansion of the Andaz brand across sites in New York, Tokyo, Beijing and Moscow. The London site, a former Conran hotel, was bought by Hyatt last year.
Hyatt Interna tional president Bernd Chorengel explains that the company wanted a luxury, design-led concept for the ‘young at heart’ consumer that would represent a ‘totally different’ offering from anything else available in the global luxury hotel market. ‘We wanted it to be a personal experience, so that the consumer deals with one person, rather than the usual three or four, from reception to their room,’ says Chorengel. The name ‘Andaz’ – Urdu for ‘personal style’ – was chosen in conjunction with US market research and strategy group Prophet. Los Angeles consultancy Robert Louey & Associates created the identity and graphics.
The idea for the lobby areas is to resemble contemporary living spaces, without check-in counters or concierge desks, says Chorengel. Greeters with hand-held devices will act as personal hosts for guests of the five-star ‘casual luxury’ hotel. The Andaz brand also aims to be environmentally conscious – each of the hotels will feature facilities such as reduced water-use toilets, computercontrolled boilers to cut fuel use, eco-friendly printers, and organic, locally produced food. Although the concept will remain consistent in pricing, branding and name across the portfolio, each hotel will be individually designed and be ‘culturally sensitive to its location’. While the London venue aims to reflect the creative atmosphere of nearby Hoxton and Shoreditch, the New York hotel, on Fifth Avenue, opposite the public library, is intended to echo the literary feel of the area. It is being developed in conjunction with design consultancy Tony Chi & Asso ciates and architect Rock well Group, and is due to open in 2009.
For Andaz London, interiors consultancy Wilsdon Design Associates was brought on board last year to tweak the lobby, guest rooms, and the Aurora restaurant. It started work before the Aurora brand had been fully developed, according to Katrina Simister, senior designer at Wilsdon. The brief changed because of the decision to bring London under the Andaz brand, but its remit was to create a modern space with a Minimalist dynamic that focused on art, says Simister. The Aurora restaurant, one of four restaurants at the hotel, retains its Victorian Grade II architecture, while the old bar has been replaced with a central one. ‘We changed this, as well as more subtle elements such as the seating, giving it more of a “loungy” feel,’ says Lynne West, associate at Wilsdon. Wilsdon finished work on the residents’ area of the hotel last month.
UNLIKE ANYTHING ELSE?
• Barber Osgerby, artist Peter Newman, jewellery designer Hannah Martin, photographer Joss McKinley, illustrator Danny Sangra, lighting designer Jason Bruges, trend group Check In It and fashion designer Joe Hunter collaborated on the Eastern Thinking project for the Andaz London, curated by Jam
• The historic 267-room Great Eastern Hotel was originally opened in 1884 but fully renovated and reopened in February 2000
• It has four restaurants, five bars and 12 private dining and event rooms
• Hyatt has 215 hotels in 43 countries around the world, operating under the Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Grand Hyatt and Park Hyatt brands