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Garden hotel in Haifa : Doing business in style

August 15, 2014

I have been waiting for the opportunity to work in Haifa for a long time. For the last year, since I met the owners of Garden Hotel, the Adi family, we have been working on this project together, and I’m proud to say that the hotel is currently being launched. I was born in Haifa, so when I met the owners and heard about the project, I immediately felt committed.

Anyone who has been to Haifa recently knows that its not the sleepy port city it used to be. Haifa today has a lot to offer : a Hi-tech park, great shopping, culture events and a lot of attractions. It has a unique blend of three religions that together make up the heart of the city. However, some things will never change : the sea, the beautiful nature surrounding the city on the Carmel mountain and the easy access from Tel Aviv. All these together make Haifa an ideal location for tourists and Israelis seeking a get-away not to far away from home. More and more companies have business in Haifa and their staff requires accommodations.

The Adi family also runs the Gan Hacongressim complex at the city entrance – for personal and business events. This is a great location for business guests and tourists alike : close to the train station and the beach is a short walk away.

 The Design : delicate and sophisticated

When I joined the project, the owners were leaning towards a classical and traditional design style. Together we analysed the target market, and understood that many future guests will probably be in Haifa to do business in the nearby Hi-tech park. These are modern, sophisticated guests. Therefore, we decided to upgrade the hotel concept. Together with branding studio Anata, we came up with a new concept for Garden Hotel. The hotel’s name refers to the immediate surrounding –  there is green everywhere with gardens and terraces all around. The greenery does not stay outside but rather follows the guest into the hotel through the use of interior gardens and fresh design.

Even before entering, the guests encounter a small garden sunk into a niche in the exterior wall. The main design element inside the lobby is a cactus garden in the middle of the space. A high ceiling with a skylight allows natural light to enter and increases the feeling that we are in a space that brings the outdoors inside.

גארדן הוטל גינת קקטוסים בלובי

Cacti garden in the middle of the lobby brings the outdoors inside. Photography: Assaf Pincuk.

It was important for us to create a “wow” effect right when the guests take their first steps inside. The lobby is very impressive with 14m high ceiling, marble flooring and a cacti garden in the middle. The lobby has afghan rugs and a Onyx marble reception desk that adds to the luxurious feeling.

גארדן הוטל אלמנט גרפי

The hotel logo as a graphic emblem on the lobby wall. Creates a modern fresh look. Photography: Assaf Pinchuk.

The lobby is designed as an open space – one space with many uses. I have written before about the importance I give to the design of the public spaces in all my projects. Today, even those on a business trip do not want to be cooped up in their room at the end of the work day, but would rather be surrounded by inspiring design and experience social interactions. The hotel lobby enables a blend of business and leisure: an open space perfect for networking, that has all the amenities such as work stations and free wi-fi. The hotel restaurant Bistro 29 serves light meals all day long, and the cacti garden adds an interesting twist to the space.

online corner

Online corner – work stations for guests. Photography: Assaf Pinchuk

With the design of the guest rooms, we tried to set a different mood. Garden Hotel has 29 rooms, with a relaxed classical designed, that is meant to create a calm oasis different from the more bold design of the public spaces. The rooms are decorated in neutral and earth tones, with wooden furniture that adds to the warm feel. There are touches of blue and green that refer to the blue of the ocean and the greenery that surrounds the hotel inside and out. In addition, the hotel has one honeymoon suite – the “white suite” that is decorated all in white, with a round bed, designer lighting and a retro bath that all create a romantic atmosphere. The honeymoon experience can be completed with a visit to the hotel’s “white spa”.

Garden Hotel guest room: relaxed design. Photography: Assaf Pinchuk

Garden Hotel guest room: relaxed design. Photography: Assaf Pinchuk

White Suite. Photography: Assaf Pinchuk

White Suite. Photography: Assaf Pinchuk

Making It Work

Since the project did not have a management company, Copeland took on this role as well in the setting up period. We put much thought to how to implement the concept in the best way to ensure smooth and successful operation in the future.

We were able to recruit key management positions only two months prior to opening. This timing allowed the owners to minimize costs at a stage when their asset is still not operational, while still allowing staff enough time for training and implementing procedures before the first guest enters the doors.

I introduced Eva Cabassa to the project – an accomplished marketing professional I had worked with in the past, and she was hired as the hotel’s general manager. To me, recruiting a marketing expert as a general manager ensures a link between the concept and the actual operation of the hotel – after all, the most important marketing tool is the hotel itself, how it looks and operates, how guests are treated and the experiences each of them have.

 Business in style

To conclude, Garden Hotel is a business hotel that has a personal, intimate atmosphere. I have no doubt we will be able to lead it to excellent results.

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