A hotel for the style conscious has been honoured for its unconventional look
UAE: Aloft Abu Dhabi won the Best New Hotel award during the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) for innovation in design.
The contemporary theme of the hotel, which is the first of the brand to open in the Middle East in 2009, was headed by Nick Stoupas, director of projects, RPW Design.
“We were very excited to see that all of the hard work the entire team invested in the project was recognised,” said Stoupas.
The brief was to stick to the prescribed brand personality of Aloft. “Our client ADNEC appointed us to develop the brand and enhance it to meet the 4-star level required in the UAE, by designing additional F&B facilities to complement its features.
This included the DINE Restaurant, Mai Cafe and Relax @ 12. We also had to enhance and uplift the guestrooms and suites, upgrade the material specifications and FF&E specifications to accommodate the additional requirements of our client and for the region,” he added.
The design period was quick and took eight months from conceptualisation to tender documentation.
The biggest challenge the team faced was designing the hotel interior to bring it in line with Aloft and that of the venue at ADNEC.
“It was important not to detract from the overall vision ADNEC had for its development and the vision that Starwood had for the Aloft concept.
We achieved this balance by creating spaces which all looked as if they were intrinsically linked, rather than individual spaces detached from each other. We also faced many design challenges during the implementation of the project, during the construction phase, as it was fast tracked to open in time for the inaugural F1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi,” said Stoupas.
Aloft Abu Dhabi reflects industrial and urban design and makes use of open spaces which cater to the different needs of its target market.
The re:mix lounge is Aloft’s interpretation of a hotel lobby, and includes a sunken living room with a two-sided glass fireplace, which opens out onto an outdoor patio. Guests are encouraged to socialise with one another and there is a pool table and a 24/7 grab-n-go gourmet pantry called re:fuel, inspired by a New York deli.
In the middle of the lounge is the w xyz SM bar. The space makes use of industrial design features including exposed ductwork on the ceiling, concrete floors and a bar top made from crushed glass lit with coloured LCD lights.
A circular front desk is placed in the centre of the lobby with a custom-made mirror made up of small panels creating a kaleidoscopic effect. Guests can check in via kiosks, which lets them select their own floor and rooms.
The rooms themselves are loft-like spaces with nine-foot-high ceilings and oversized windows. The colour décor includes blue and purple, natural light, and custom made furniture. A multifunctional headboard serves as a wall partition, built-in storage space, nightstand and artwork display.