Focus: Projects

All aboard for a tour of new hotels around the world – from a luxurious train in Peru to Cape Town and China

Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru, South America

Does a sleeper train count as a hotel? We think so. The Belmond Andean Explorer in Peru is South America’s first luxury sleeper train, designed by Muza Lab with reference to the cultures of the places it passes through on its journey through the Andes.

One of the train carriages has been converted into a piano barOne of the train carriages has been converted into a piano bar

The project refurbished 16 carriages of the Great South Pacific Express to accommodate 48 passengers. The design aims to create a feel of timeless luxury with the use of soft, neutral tones and reference to Peruvian crafts and artistry.

Peruvian materials, colours and patterns feature in the compact but stylish cabinsPeruvian materials, colours and patterns feature in the compact but stylish cabins

There are four configurations of private, en-suite sleeper cars, two dining cars and further carriages for observation, spa treatment rooms, and a piano bar.

An ever-changing view as the train travels through PeruAn ever-changing view as the train travels through Peru

‘The train is a place of transition where time seems to slow down between the departure and the arrival. Our vision was to design somewhere to ponder and dream, a space where the beauty of the land can infuse the soul,’ says Inge Moore, founder of Muza Lab.


Hotel Schwarzenstein, Lutago, Italy

For the luxury Hotel Schwarzenstein in the Italian Dolomites, Viega has supplied a range of high-quality, German-engineered bathroom fittings for both the wellness area and guest rooms.

Hotel Schwarzenstein, Lutago, Italy

Hotel Schwarzenstein, Lutago, Italy

Hotel Schwarzenstein, Lutago, ItalyHotel Schwarzenstein, Lutago, Italy

Schmidhammer GmbH Bruneck installed Visign for Style 10 and Visign for More 100 flush plates, Viega Eco Plus and Viega Mono Tec WC pre-wall modules as well as Viega Advantix shower drains.


The Silo, Cape Town

All Images: The Royal Portfolio

A grain Silo from the twenties on the Cape Town waterfront has been converted into a luxury hotel and the Zeitz MOCAA gallery of contemporary African art. Heatherwick Studio is responsible for the external design of the entire building, carving galleries and circulation space from the silo’s cellular concrete structure.

The Willaston bar at The SiloThe Willaston bar at The Silo

Designed for The Royal Portfolio hotel group, The Silo hotel rises six floors above this, topped by an 11th floor sky garden and pool, and characterised by distinctive multifaceted glass windows. Rising up to 5.5m and made from 56 pieces of glass, these bulge out by up to 1m to enhance the panoramic views.

Hotel and art gallery on the Cape Town waterfrontHotel and Art Gallery on the Cape Town waterfront

The hotel interiors have been designed by Liz Biden, owner of The Royal Portfolio. She describes the process as ‘fitting luxury into an industrial building’ with a combination of colourful and eclectic pieces. The Silo offers 28 guest rooms including a one-bedroom penthouse as well as spa, gym, cafes and bars.


The Curtain, Shoreditch

This nine-storey new-build is on the site of a former Seventies office block, with its design by Dexter Moren Associates reinterpreting the area’s 19th-century warehouse heritage in a modern hotel building.

The Curtain, ShoreditchPhoto Credit: Adrian Houston

The Curtain, ShoreditchPhoto Credit: Adrian Houston

The Curtain, ShoreditchPhoto Credit: Andy Stagg

Using urban red brickwork, profiled metal panels, large Crittallstyle windows with deep reveals and bullnose brick sills, The Curtain complements the urban/industrial aesthetic and gives the building a character and identity of its own. Inside, art by Mick Rock is featured, while rooms and suites have exposed brick walls, hardwood flooring and black-framed factory windows.


The Whitby Hotel, Midtown Manhattan, New York

Firmdale Hotels, the group set up by Tim and Kit Kemp, has opened its second New York hotel. The Whitby Hotel is located in upper Midtown Manhattan close to Central Park. It has been designed by Kit Kemp as a celebration of contemporary art and design and is billed as a ‘vibrant, uplifting adventure through handcraftsmanship, art, found pieces and bespoke detailing’.

The Whitby Bar and RestaurantThe Whitby Bar and Restaurant

The hotel includes 86 individually designed bedrooms and suites as well as a bar, restaurant, private event rooms, 13-seat cinema and gym. The bar is a particular feature.

ndividually designed guest rooms at The Whitby, New YorkIndividually designed guest rooms at The Whitby, New York

Above the 10m-long pewter counter is a collection of 52 rustic baskets sourced from around the British Isles and labelled with their origins and uses. Other UK references include a violin case in the Drawing Room that plays the sounds of the seaside town of Whitby when opened.

In the orangery, 40 hand-etched porcelain vessels by Martha Freud depict iconic New York landmark buildings and bridges. In the lobby, six hyper-realist paintings of local scenes by Peter Rocklin are juxtaposed with Bollywood wallpaper designed by Kit Kemp.

Individually designed guest rooms at The Whitby, New YorkIndividually designed guest rooms at The Whitby, New York

The Whitby Hotel joins Firmdale’s group of eight London hotels and the Crosby Street Hotel, also in New York.


Changbai Mountains Korean Pine Valley Hotel, Jilin, China

Photography By: Lu Weidong and Wang Hairong

Situated cose to China’s border with North Korea in the Changbai Mountains, this hot-spring resort hotel was designed by architecture practice Hongshi Design with interior design by Zhejiang University of Technology Engineering Design Group Co.

The design draws on the eight classical elements associated with the Changbai Mountains. While these elements include water, fire, ice, rock and fog, the one that most evidently inspired the design team is wood, with trees from the Changbai mountains proving a key material throughout the hotel. Using this local wood for flooring, cladding, furniture and some of the artwork also had the advantage of considerable savings on freight.

The lofty and spacious dining spaceThe lofty and spacious dining space

In the lobby, a dramatic full-height view of the mountains is combined with a line of chandeliers made from interlaced tree roots and a reception desk made from the bottom portion of a tree. Large floor lamps are created from clusters of tree branches. In the lobby seating area, the designers aimed to evoke the idea of the local forest with references to leaves, pine cones, mushrooms and deer.

The hotel’s lounge features elements of the forestThe hotel’s lounge features elements of the forest

Mountains are another theme, referenced in the lighting feature that runs the length of the banquet hall. This is combined with wood cladding on the walls. Corridors include carpet patterned with a wood-grain design that flows along past the guest-room doors. Throughout the hotel wood is also frequently used as focal points, such as a decorative mirror surround or as a framed art piece.

The second phase of the 280-bed hotel has now opened, with the remaining accommodation due to complete next summer.

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