21 April 2011

Designing 450 hotel rooms

Two weeks ago I met up with two colleague interior designers in Sharm El Sheikh, Karim and Yosra from Cairo. They were overseeing the final stages of their design for a hotel refurbishment. A big hotel at that: 450 rooms, with one of the restaurants catering for 1,000 people.

The original building was an eighties complex by the sea. It had been completely stripped, but the structure had been retained. A new contemporary front had been added in sandstone and black granite with brushed metal shutter-like additions. Not bad, and refreshingly different from the many Egyptian pastiche-style resorts nearby.    
Part of the spa area, with great views towards the sea. Walls will be mounted with coloured glass to reflect the sea.
The floor in the new lobby. Lighting will be from www.viabizzuno.com (they are in London as well).

Mega resorts like this one, get minimum requirements from tour operators which designers have to follow, so tourist can broadly expect European health and safety standards (not necessarily UK ones!). These standards do not seem an issue during construction: nobody was wearing safety clothing or helmets and unprotected electricity cables were lying around everywhere.  
The main restaurant. The 1,000 chairs had already arrived. They are in a sand coloured fabric, with some of the walls panelled with small metal cubes (see the wall beyond the chairs).

The floors are in ceramic tiles with wood print. Easy to clean, resistant to water and very durable. Have a look at www.surfacetiles.com. Though I think it will look better in commercial spaces than at home.
One of the beachside bars. Again with wood print ceramic tiles.  
The hotel will be marketed by Thomson. It is part of their Sensatori range (see www.thomson.co.uk/sensatori). As we left and discussed the political turmoil in Egypt, more stuff arrived. This time for the future porters of the hotel.

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