JOURNAL/ New Hotels/2018


Hospitality Reframed

The hotelscape is changing fast as travellers are offered an unprecedented array of accommodation options. In this Journal we present some of our latest hospitality projects and ideas that we are incorporating as hotels evolve into the future.

The hotelscape is changing fast as travellers are offered an unprecedented array of accommodation options. In this Journal we present some of our latest hospitality projects and ideas that we are incorporating as hotels evolve into the future.


The Hotelscape Future Focus

This is an exciting time for the hospitality industry: unique accommodation offerings, authentic design, game-changing technology and personalised guest experiences are just some of the contributors to the evolving travel landscape.

How does the hotelier stay ahead when travel is anything but standardized? Read our Hotelscape Future Focus to learn about the changes we're seeing in the market.

Jure Domazet and Brenton Smith discuss the Little National Hotel brand

 “We offer small rooms and a big experience ”

Jure Domazet

Managing Director, Doma Group

Bates Smart is currently working on two Little National Hotel projects. Interior Design Director Brenton Smith sat down with Jure Domazet, Managing Director of Doma Group to discuss the brand and their expanding boutique offering.

BS: How did the Little National Hotel model evolve?
YD: We identified a need to provide an affordable, but luxurious base. We believe that the hotel is not the final destination, but rather part of the travel experience.

Luxury means different things to different people. We think of Little National Hotels as ‘smart luxury’, a combination of beautifully designed spaces, high amenity, in super-prime locations at a reasonable rate. Our target clients are business and leisure travellers, who want well designed and detailed spaces and who don’t necessarily spend an extensive amount of time in their hotel rooms. However, they do not want to give up on a luxurious experience when they are in their room.

We have streamlined our offering, leveraging the surrounding neighbourhood of restaurants, businesses and entertainment. We would prefer people to have an authentic local experience, rather than trying to provide an all-inclusive experience. We like to think we offer small rooms and a big experience.

BS: How does the model work?

YD: To combat high staff costs and high labour, we’ve focussed on what matters and streamlined our guest service. You don’t need a 24 hour doorman or a big room to feel like you’ve had a five star experience - what matters is a great bed, a great shower, luxurious touchpoints and professional and friendly service when you need it.

We have stripped away the unnecessary overheads. We focus on hiring the best reception, housekeeping and bar staff without the additional bell boys and doormen. We offer premium social spaces which are open to all of our guests and their invited visitors with self-service and a carefully chosen food and beverage service.

Little National Hotels are new build projects with integrated interiors. The combination of expensive real estate and high wages in Australia makes it challenging to provide hotel guests with good value. Our solution to this problem is to increase the key numbers by decreasing the room size. The cost of our 18 sqm room is similar to a 25 sqm room in other hotels, but a Little National Hotel room is far better appointed. However, by saving on floor area, we are able to compensate by increasing our overall yield of rooms.

BS: How does design support your business?
YD: We place great value on smart luxurious design. We have consciously developed our aesthetic to have a broad appeal. We target a large niche of very social travellers in the marketplace. Importantly, we do not target a particular “design” niche, believing that people of all ages recognise and enjoy considered, timeless and elegant design. Our sleeping spaces are highly planned, but there is a joy in the materiality and detail, and the rooms are small, yet beautifully presented. This is a crafted model that is consistent throughout all of our Little National Hotels.

Likewise with the concept ‘small rooms, big experience’, the social spaces within the hotels are integral to the overall guest experience and we always focus on great locations for our properties. Our social spaces are always given prime position in our hotels, but they are the first or last stop for our guests – the locations we choose are surrounded by better bars, restaurants and local experiences than most hoteliers could hope to provide.


Bates Smart are currently designing Little National Hotels in Newcastle and Sydney.

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The Manly Pacific, design competition work

 “The podium recalls the fine grain rhythm and scale of the original beachfront villas ”

Philip Vivian

Director, Bates Smart

With its beachfront location in one of Sydney’s most famous seaside hubs, The Manly Pacific Hotel’s importance as a placemaking resort cannot be underestimated. More than just ‘somewhere to go’, the hotel threads through the fabric of the community, creating an environment where people want to work, stay and play.

Bates Smart Director, Philip Vivian, commented on his team’s design competition concept:

“We took inspiration from the qualities of light at play on water in Sydney Harbour, captured so well in the photographs of David Moore. We created a design that reflected the uniqueness of the Manly coastline derived from this forensic exploration.”

The hotel’s architecture translates the findings of this exploration into a language that combines sub-tropical mid-century modernism with light play. A chevron rhythm with a checkerboard arrangement has created a patterned façade in which the original hotel’s grid dissolves in a layered pattern of light and shade.

At street level, the podium recalls the fine grain rhythm and scale of Manly’s original beachfront villas. Ground floor restaurants and bars open onto the promenade to activate the streetscape. A new entrance has been designed on a more intimate scale to reflect the boutique nature of the hotel and create a seamless indoor-outdoor experience. Up above, balconies offer shaded retreat or sunlit views.

The 'play of light' concept extends to the hotel’s interior spaces through a cool textured materiality, with tumbled travertine and silver rough-cut timber creating a relaxed and timeless palette that embraces luxury beachside living and comfortably welcomes all guests.

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Four Seasons, Sydney

An elegant aesthetic combined with future-proof technology

A contemporary, elegant 'tone on tone' aesthetic defined by quality and timelessness characterises the freshly renovated ballroom and prefunction space at the Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney.

The refreshed interior carefully integrates new design elements, existing architectural features and state of the art AV technology to build in versatility for a wide range of events. The integrated design will ensure that the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney operates at the forefront of the city's hotel entertainment and event market for years to come.

Canberra Airport Hotel, exuding a lifestyle through design


In a world focused on curating the perfect experiences, successful designs underpin the lifestyle that a hotel exudes.

This is true at the Vibe Hotel Canberra Airport, where the hotel’s architecture and interiors reinterpret the glamour, texture, colours, shapes and patterns associated with traveling in style during the 1970s.

The end result creates a contemporary take on mod culture that’s digested and enjoyed by everyone who steps through the Vibe’s front door.

Vibe Hotel Canberra Airport video by Tommy Devy, courtesy of Vibe Hotels.


Hotel Indigo Sydney Central

 “ We expect Hotel Indigo Sydney Central will become one of the city’s leading boutique hotels, making its mark thanks to its unique, eclectic style ”

Abhijay Sandilya

Senior Director, IHG

Sydney’s first Hotel Indigo is set to open in 2021. Operated by global hotel leader IHG, the 168 room boutique property will be located near Central Station and draws on the character and history of nearby Chinatown through the integrated design of its architecture and interiors.

The urban context that surrounds the hotel informed its cantilevered copper clad northern wing. The wing has an expressed grid that provides a sophisticated and calm backdrop to the adjacent heritage listed Coronation Building. The underside soffit will feature a grand artwork that will relate to the city scale and will become a recognisable feature of the hotel, celebrating its location within the Haymarket entertainment precinct.

A key design element of the interiors is to draw from the neighbourhood, telling the stories of Chinatown’s local culture by weaving together a rich material palette and custom pieces from local artists, photographers and furniture makers.

IHG anticipates the strong sensibility created through Hotel Indigo’s design will make the property stand out in the crowded hotel market. “We expect Hotel Indigo Sydney Central to become one of the city’s leading boutique hotels,” says Abhijav Sandilya, IHG’s Senior Director of Development in Australasia and the South Pacific. “It will make its mark thanks to its unique, eclectic style and perfectly complement our existing IHG assets across this landmark city.”

Read more ...

Illoura House, Melbourne

 “Marriott recognises the continued evolution of the St. Kilda Road”

Antonio Tarros

Project Director, Woodlink

Bates Smart has worked closely with the Melbourne based developer, Woodlink, to design an 18 storey premium mixed-use development on St. Kilda Road in the latest evolution of Melbourne’s original grand boulevard.

Illoura House will be home to Australia’s first five-star Marriott Executive Apartments. This international luxury brand caters for long-stay travellers with all the comforts of home and imbues a sense of community through a focus on extensive social spaces. Marriott will operate 176 concierge serviced apartment rooms across the lower five levels of the development.

The project will also feature 163 premium residential apartments alongside the serviced apartments and incorporates a roof garden terrace, ground level retail and resort style amenities. At the heart of the project is a tranquil courtyard garden which brings light, nature and a serene contemplative atmosphere to the surrounding public spaces.

Bates Smart Director Kristen Whittle commented:

“The Illoura House design salutes St Kilda Road’s distinguished past while adding a robust and enduring modern building with classical lines that enhance the boulevard’s architecture.”

The apartment interiors will exemplify a handmade quality with natural materials such as stone, timber and metal employed in different ways in order to provide a rich and tactile experience. Construction is to commence in 2019.

Read more ...

Dinner By Heston Blumenthal in Dubai

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal announces third international opening

Following on from the successful Melbourne launch and subsequent accolades, including the 2016 Eat Drink Design Award for Best Restaurant, Bates Smart are very pleased to commence working on a second Dinner by Heston Blumenthal restaurant, this time in Dubai.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal takes inspiration from historic British dishes from the 1300s through to the Victorian era. Upon arrival guests are fully immersed into a creative experience of fine dining, encompassing all the senses of sight, smell, touch, sound and of course taste.

The design extends concepts developed in London and Melbourne and reflects Heston Blumenthal’s sense of theatre. Additional British context will be woven into the Dubai space to suit the local and traveller market.

Set within the new Royal Atlantis development, the new restaurant will incorporate a private dining room and a wine cellar as well as an outdoor terrace, the project is expected to open in 2019.

Read the press.

Read more ...

Bates Smart team to present at two upcoming hotel conferences

From 'Differentiation' to 'Keeping it local'

Bates Smart Director, Jeff Copolov, will be joining a program of international speakers and some of the industry's most interesting leaders at the annual Hotels World conference in Sydney on Tuesday 24 July. Jeff will be presenting on the subject of 'Designing for Differentiation', more information.

Meanwhile, Associate Director, Grant Filipoff, will be presenting 'Melbourne - Making a local impression' at the new format Design Inn 2018, in Melbourne on May 1, more information. Design Inn is a forum for Australasia's hotel and hospitality design community to share the latest ideas, challenge norms and shape future directions.


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