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Top Hotel Designers visit Israel

April 7, 2011

This past Thursday, I participated in the first International Tourism Conference in Binyamei Hauma in Jerusalem. The conference was sponsored in the most part by Jerusalem Development Authority and Ministry of Tourism. I was involved in the initial stages of the conference planning through my collegue Benny Moran – the conference producer giving ideas for sessions. I remember telling him no matter what there needs to be a session in the impact of Hotel Design in Hotel overall Concepts & its contribution to the guest experience. Indeed, there were some interesting presentations of Hotel Designers from abroad.

First International Tourism Conference

First International Tourism Conference

The panel moderator was a very good friend of mine – Buki Zuker , who I know from many projects including designing the Shizen Spa Resort, where we worked very closely 9 years ago together the Hotel owner Reuven Ela to develop a winning concept of an Urban Lifestyle Spa Resort with a far east flair, One of my favorite projects ever while working at Tamares. Since then, Buki has done great projects such as Crown Plaza at Azrieli and lately the Radisson Blu in Bukarest.

The first speaker was Nir Gilad , the creative director of one of a wonderful Design Studio called NousDesign in London. Nir is an Israeli who lives in London but visits Israel constantly juggling projects all over the world.  Some of the projects NIr shared with us was Mardan Palace in Antalya and Hyatt in Kiev. Nous Design works with Isrotel and designed recently the Spa at Royal Beach Resort in Eilat.

I enjoyed very much the most prominent speaker of the day who is considered the founder of Hospitality Design – Michael Bedner – Chairman of Hirsch/Bedner Associates, a good friend of Israel.  It goes without saying that when Bedner designs a hotel; it will be lasting not only for decades but for a lifetime. He has worked with the upper most Luxury tier with hotel operators & bramds including, Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Waldorf Astoria, Kempinski, Ritz Carlton and Iconic Hotels like The Peninsula New York or the newly opened Marina Bay in Singapore. I actually liked a hotel designed by HBA for a Lifestyle Brand I wrote about in this blog – Indigo, part of Intercontinental. HBA designed the Indigo Shanghai in a very unique way.

Hotel Indigo Shanghai (courtesy of Hotel Indigo's website)

Hotel Indigo Shanghai (courtesy of Hotel Indigo's website)

I especially appreciate his words regarding two thoughts I always share with everyone.. The first is that a hotel has to be created to give “a sense of place” and respect and showcase its location in terms of culture, art , food and more and the second idea is that SERVICE comes first and DESIGN comes only after in importance. Service is the real reason a guest will come back and therefore makes great business sense. I loved it that the company has its own department that is called “Canvas” and collects Art all over the world to integrate in their projects.

Marina bay hotel Singapore (courtesy of Marina bay's website)

Marina bay hotel Singapore (courtesy of Marina bay's website)

Hopefully, there will be more opportunities to get to know Designers from abroad – not just in next year’s conference…

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