Contract - Interiors Awards 2014: Hotel

design - features - hospitality design



Interiors Awards 2014: Hotel

24 January, 2014

-By Caroline Tiger. Photography by Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Tim Beddows


Hotel Alfonso XIII
Designer: The Gallery HBA London
Client: Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Location: Seville, Spain

“A consistent design enhances the history of the hotel, without being too literal or heavy handed. As all classic hotels should, this hotel reflects a spirit of place, the romance of travel, and the hope of an exotic experience.” -Jury


The Hotel Alfonso XIII, the storied hotel in Spain’s culturally rich Seville, had a narrative problem. Namely, its interior design wasn’t communicating its stellar history. King Alfonso XIII had spent 12 years constructing it in the early 20th century, and when it opened in 1929, it became an essential stopover during the golden age of travel. The building was designed in the Mudéjar style, a fusion of the city’s Romanesque, Gothic, and Moorish influences.

But the last renovation in 1990 resulted in a bland, traditionally pan-European interior that made little reference to the hotel’s history or local culture.
To restore the color and drama of the hotel’s heritage while reimagining the 13,500-square-foot property’s 151 guestrooms and public spaces, Starwood Hotels engaged The Gallery HBA London. Of course, the designers did not have to look far for inspiration. “The building is very strong, very masculine, and architectural,” says Inge Moore, a principal at HBA. “There’s this macho-ness of the matador balanced with the soft play of the flamenco dancer. We took these narratives and incorporated them into the design story.”   

Some of the most impactful transformations are in the hotel’s public spaces. The designers inspected and catalogued all antique furnishings and chose which pieces to reupholster and refinish based on how they would best fit into the new scheme. A large, cast-brass chandelier was discovered in the attic, restored, and returned to the grand stairs where it hung decades before. Ornate plasterwork, decorated ceilings, and mosaic-clad colonnades were painstakingly preserved as the designers chose a bold color palette—adopted from the matador’s costume—and added layers of metalwork and local crafts.

While HBA specified for the dated, yellow chintz-covered walls to be stripped back and crystal chandeliers to be removed, local artisans restored thousands of azulejos—ornate, hand-painted ceramic tiles native to Seville that are used throughout the Alfonso. Because the hotel is historically protected, new electrical outlets could not be placed where they would interfere with tile work. In heavily tiled areas such as the lobby, the designers carefully oriented furniture to take advantage of sunlight, and placed light fixtures in proximity to existing power outlets.

Two bars within the hotel, Bodega Alfonso and Bar Americano, were restored and updated to attract a younger clientele. For Bodega Alfonso, a meeting place once used by the king himself, HBA called for the preservation of the remaining original cornices and painted ceilings, for old bar stools to be reupholstered, for the addition of new lighting and splashes of “matador red” in the form of comfortable leather banquettes, as well as for the installation of a massive bar. Portraits of King Alfonso were hung to remind guests of the room’s royal pedigree, and outdoor terraces were recreated.

“The renovation has been an exceptional upgrade for the entire hotel, so our guests are delighted with all the spaces in general,” says Koen Van Malder, design project director of Starwood’s Europe, Africa, and Middle East division. “Nevertheless, one of the spaces preferred by our guests is the Bar Americano.” The room went from a “dark, nothing space,” to “a really sexy bar” that looks like it originated during King Alfonso’s time, Moore says. The strong, dark blue and gold palette is enhanced by Art Deco features, and includes a bar in polished brass and Macassar Ebony timber.

The guestrooms were reinvented in styles reflecting Seville’s three major cultural influences: Moorish, Andalucian, and Castilian. The Moorish rooms have dramatic furnishings, bold red touches, and headboards with scalloped edges. The Andalucian rooms are feminine, with sculptural millwork trim, which alludes to the swish of a flamenco skirt. The Castilian rooms, inspired by the matador, feature deep ochres, dark timber-paneled ceilings, and images of horses. The Royal Suite, which Van Malder notes is still used by royal families visiting Seville, was reimagined as the room where King Alfonso himself would have stayed. HBA incorporated artifacts King Alfonso might have collected on his travels and portraits of the king himself. Like the rest of the hotel, it is filled with beautiful surprises.




Interiors Awards 2014: Hotel

24 January, 2014


Hotel Alfonso XIII
Designer: The Gallery HBA London
Client: Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Location: Seville, Spain

“A consistent design enhances the history of the hotel, without being too literal or heavy handed. As all classic hotels should, this hotel reflects a spirit of place, the romance of travel, and the hope of an exotic experience.” -Jury


The Hotel Alfonso XIII, the storied hotel in Spain’s culturally rich Seville, had a narrative problem. Namely, its interior design wasn’t communicating its stellar history. King Alfonso XIII had spent 12 years constructing it in the early 20th century, and when it opened in 1929, it became an essential stopover during the golden age of travel. The building was designed in the Mudéjar style, a fusion of the city’s Romanesque, Gothic, and Moorish influences.

But the last renovation in 1990 resulted in a bland, traditionally pan-European interior that made little reference to the hotel’s history or local culture.
To restore the color and drama of the hotel’s heritage while reimagining the 13,500-square-foot property’s 151 guestrooms and public spaces, Starwood Hotels engaged The Gallery HBA London. Of course, the designers did not have to look far for inspiration. “The building is very strong, very masculine, and architectural,” says Inge Moore, a principal at HBA. “There’s this macho-ness of the matador balanced with the soft play of the flamenco dancer. We took these narratives and incorporated them into the design story.”   

Some of the most impactful transformations are in the hotel’s public spaces. The designers inspected and catalogued all antique furnishings and chose which pieces to reupholster and refinish based on how they would best fit into the new scheme. A large, cast-brass chandelier was discovered in the attic, restored, and returned to the grand stairs where it hung decades before. Ornate plasterwork, decorated ceilings, and mosaic-clad colonnades were painstakingly preserved as the designers chose a bold color palette—adopted from the matador’s costume—and added layers of metalwork and local crafts.

While HBA specified for the dated, yellow chintz-covered walls to be stripped back and crystal chandeliers to be removed, local artisans restored thousands of azulejos—ornate, hand-painted ceramic tiles native to Seville that are used throughout the Alfonso. Because the hotel is historically protected, new electrical outlets could not be placed where they would interfere with tile work. In heavily tiled areas such as the lobby, the designers carefully oriented furniture to take advantage of sunlight, and placed light fixtures in proximity to existing power outlets.

Two bars within the hotel, Bodega Alfonso and Bar Americano, were restored and updated to attract a younger clientele. For Bodega Alfonso, a meeting place once used by the king himself, HBA called for the preservation of the remaining original cornices and painted ceilings, for old bar stools to be reupholstered, for the addition of new lighting and splashes of “matador red” in the form of comfortable leather banquettes, as well as for the installation of a massive bar. Portraits of King Alfonso were hung to remind guests of the room’s royal pedigree, and outdoor terraces were recreated.

“The renovation has been an exceptional upgrade for the entire hotel, so our guests are delighted with all the spaces in general,” says Koen Van Malder, design project director of Starwood’s Europe, Africa, and Middle East division. “Nevertheless, one of the spaces preferred by our guests is the Bar Americano.” The room went from a “dark, nothing space,” to “a really sexy bar” that looks like it originated during King Alfonso’s time, Moore says. The strong, dark blue and gold palette is enhanced by Art Deco features, and includes a bar in polished brass and Macassar Ebony timber.

The guestrooms were reinvented in styles reflecting Seville’s three major cultural influences: Moorish, Andalucian, and Castilian. The Moorish rooms have dramatic furnishings, bold red touches, and headboards with scalloped edges. The Andalucian rooms are feminine, with sculptural millwork trim, which alludes to the swish of a flamenco skirt. The Castilian rooms, inspired by the matador, feature deep ochres, dark timber-paneled ceilings, and images of horses. The Royal Suite, which Van Malder notes is still used by royal families visiting Seville, was reimagined as the room where King Alfonso himself would have stayed. HBA incorporated artifacts King Alfonso might have collected on his travels and portraits of the king himself. Like the rest of the hotel, it is filled with beautiful surprises.

 


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