Sheinkin Hotel: from concept to opened hotel in 6 months
During the holiday season last year, 2 young entrepreneurs entered my office – Oren Pascal and Guy Bartal. They told me of a great building, in a prime location in Sheinkin neighborhood, in which they are hoping to open a hotel in just 6 months. In this article, I will share with you the challenging process of opening Tel Aviv’s newest boutique hotel: Sheinkin Hotel, in which I participated from the building of the concept and strategic thinking to purchasing equipment and opening the hotel to its first guests a couple months ago.
We started the process with meetings at cafés at the end of the work day, usually in Yehuda Macabi St. in Tel Aviv. In these brainstorming meetings we searched for a unique concept in the Israeli hotel industry. I realized that we needed to set up a brand that would differentiate the hotel from the existing boutique places already operating in town. The strengths we had to build on: location and the personality of the entrepreneurs.
The location of the hotel, near Sheinkin street, is of course one of its strengths : this is the heart of urban Tel Aviv. The neighborhood is full of beautiful architecture and full of life by day (restaurants, cafes and shops) and by night.
We searched for inspiration from hotels abroad, such as Casa Camper Berlin (see my article about this great hotel in my blog on Xnet), and the Spanish Chic & Basic chain (mentioned in March newsletter). These hotels convey the urban, young and cool vibe of their respective cities.
I recommended relying on the brand “Sheinkin”, and for this reason this is also the hotel name. The word “Sheinkin” brings to mind multiple values having to do with a known persona, urban, young and fashionable culture. These are all values we wanted associated with the new hotel. Since this is also the first hotel to open in the neighborhood (new projects are in the works), it was important for us to lay claim to this name.
The owners, who are young and cool, with experience in restaurants and bars, wanted a hotel that represents them and speaks to people like them. We searched for ways to bring this concept to life, and created a unique artistic style – writing on the walls of the hotel in various cool colors and fonts, that follows guests in the rooms and in public spaces. The emphasis is on surprise, lack of symmetry and a sense of humor that are conveyed through the use of different fonts, colors and sizes of lettering. The writing suggests a conversation – the guests feel they are being spoken to at all times. We also designed a logo for the hotel , that looks like a retro stamp, that is also meant to bring to mind times when inter personal communication was not done through computers, and documents were handed back and forth by hand and not in their digital form.
This concept was developed in “round table” meetings with the owners, the architect Omer Leichter, and the branding firm of my dear friend Alon Deri that I brought to the project. The goal was to create a brand that has a coherent “language”: the design of the hotel itself, the art on the walls that creates a conversation with the guest, as well as the logo, website, brochure and even business card. We also made sure the staff met the hotel’s profile, by recruiting a young team that underwent extensive training and offers service with a smile, ready to listen and dynamic. The staff is also always ready with recommendations about how to experience the “real” Tel Aviv, which only the locals know.
Sheinkin Hotel is designed like a “sandwich”: Ground level and Roof Top with guestrooms in middle floors. The entry level has several seating areas: an indoor lobby with magazines next to the reception, and a lovely patio in the hotel garden that serves coffee and light snacks and is open 24/7. In this winter this area is enclosed with glass walls. The hotel prides itself on its rooftop lounge – a designed chill out area with great view of the city rooftops. This is the perfect place to relax with a drink, to meet friends or tan. You can also enjoy a refreshing shower.
My advice to the owners for both these public areas, the rooftop and the garden patio, was to enable different uses, for different types of guests, at different times of the day. I believe this type of new public space in hotels is something we will see more and more of, and I call it a “social lounge”. Instead of a business lounge for work, lobby for meeting friends etc., hotels today tend to unite public spaces in such a way as to cater to both business and leisure crowds. Today, even those traveling for work would like to experience the city they are in, to be surrounded by inspiring design and experience social interactions after work hours. The social lounge is a great way to offer hotel guests a combination of the work and leisure world – a fun way to create a social meeting space, meant for networking, and still equipped with all services and technology that lets the business travelers feel at home and work.
For the same reasons, the Sheinkin Hotel does not offer room service. The idea is to encourage guests to go out and experience the city, to meet with others: as mentioned before coffee is available at all times in the garden patio, and the staff is always willing to recommend hip places for any purpose and budget. Between the lounge at the hotel entry and the designed rooftop are 4 levels of guest rooms, with 30 rooms of different size.
Sheinkin Hotel offers guests the chance to feel the unique Sheinkin vibe – fashionable, young and artsy, with a down to earth attitude. The staff, design and branding work together to achieve this purpose. The successful launch of the hotel in the last months shows that it is indeed received as unique in the local market. The target market is mainly tourists, business travelers or Israelis that want to feel like residents in “Tel Aviv state” for a few days.
Credit for the great photos in this article goes to Assaf Pinchuk.