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Economy of Good Design

UK and Europe

After a two-year hiatus travel is back, and hotel group Accor is looking to the future of hospitality and reimagining its design across a spectrum of brands and price points. From nature-inspired interiors in the heart of buzzy capital cities, to business facilities that cater for the recent wave of nomadic travellers, Accor is creating spaces and experiences that allow us to relax, work, and play. Here are D/A UK’s top picks from the Accor portfolio

Photo: c/o Accor

Swissôtel Tbilisi

3 Soliko Virsaladze St, Tbilisi 0108, Georgia

The first Swissôtel in Georgia, due to open at the end of 2023, enjoys a prime location in the heart of Tbilisi, just a short walk from the National Gallery and the imposing Parliament Building. Imagined by the award-winning design team the Sundukovy Sisters, the nature-driven interiors provide a calming retreat from the buzz of the city – from the lush and leafy centrepiece of ferns and palms in the lobby to the forest-inspired colour palette of green and natural wood used throughout the hotel. A rooftop restaurant and bar come with sweeping views, while downstairs the PUROVEL SPA is an oasis of calm with an indoor pool, sauna, hammam and treatment rooms that are just the tonic after a day of sightseeing.

Photo: Edvard Nalbantjan

Mövenpick Resort and Spa Fruske Terme

Staza Zdravlja 39, Vrdnik 22408, Serbia

The soothing natural design of the Mövenpick Fruske Terme Resort and Spa sets the mood for relaxation at this mountain spa retreat. Located in Serbia’s oldest National Park, Fruska Gora, the hotel is home to the country’s most extensive wellness offering, with indoor and outdoor pools filled with thermo-mineral water, numerous saunas and steam rooms, a salt room, and a tepidarium. Floor-to-ceiling windows and an earthy palette in the communal spaces brings the outside in, while guest rooms are decorated in calming neutral shades, natural wood and bronze accents. However the real highlight is the private balcony, offering views across the park’s sloping green hills and an instant hit of fresh mountain air.

Visual: Koncept ID

The Municipal Liverpool – MGallery

Municipal Building, Dale St, Liverpool L2 2DH

Housed in a Grade II* listed building, the new Municipal Liverpool – MGallery combines both luxury and local charm. The 19th century architecture creates a impressive backdrop for the 179 guest rooms and suites, dressed in creamy shades and layers of plush, tactile materials. A number of facilities, including a British brasserie inspired by Liverpool’s trade history, the high-ceilinged Palm Court Bar, and a traditional tea room serving afternoon tea, have been created to breathe new life into the historic property. Completing the experience is the Thermae spa, which comes fully kitted out with a pool, sauna, steam room, nail bar and treatment rooms for a day of indulgence.

Photo: Gerardo Jaconelli

ibis Styles Copenhagen Ørestad

Ørestads Blvd. 47, 2300 København, Denmark

Sitting in the newly developed Ørestad business district on Amager Island is ibis Styles Copenhagen Ørestad, the brand’s debut address in the Nordics. Copenhagen-based Holscher Nordberg Architects imagined the building’s blocky exteriors as an urban contrast to the island’s nearby nature spots, which have informed the bespoke interior design by Dutch studio Mulderblauw. Large-scale tree motifs and hues of blue and green nod to the nearby forests and waterways, while steel tables, bare bulb lighting, and bold pops of red reference Amager Island’s vibrant city life. Downstairs, waterfall neon lights and colourful murals by street artist Stine Hvid add Ibis’ signature playful touch to the buzzy bar and restaurant, and for those embracing the new post-Covid WFA trend (Working From Anywhere), there’s also a tranquil work space for nomadic workers.

Photo: Rafal Jachnik

Mercure Bialystok

Hetmańska 46, 15-727 Białystok, Poland

Polish-based design studios MIXD and Imagine Studio by Katarzyna Wigda looked to the wild nature and rich culture of the Podlasie region to create the Mercure Bialystok, an award-winning hotel with a true sense of place. The flora and fauna of the nearby Białowieża Forest inspired the hotel’s deep green palette, which is lifted by patterned red rugs that pay homage to traditional craftsmanship, and in the contemporary guest rooms, abstract murals of natural landscapes and the Biebrza River hang behind each bed. Facilities include a forest-green fitness room, one of the largest meeting rooms in the city, and a bar and restaurant, where an impressive sculpture of a giant bison, a symbol of Podlasie, hangs from the ceiling.

Photo: c/o Accor

Oru Hub Hotel - Handwritten Collection, Tallinn

Narva mnt 120, 10127 Tallinn, Estonia

After a thoughtful makeover by Estonian design agency Velvet, Tallinn’s existing Oru Hub Hotel has been reborn as a stylish boutique bolthole and the first property in Accor’s new Handwritten collection. The 55 intimate guest rooms take design cues from a chic private apartment with immaculate white walls, soothing shades of taupe and salmon, and wood flooring and furnishings. On the first floor a “hub” of live and work spaces, including the Oru Bistro, a Yoga room, and more unusually, a DIY Room for household emergencies, have been fitted with wooden panels to create private nooks, rattan egg chairs, and stacks of books and plants to create a laidback home-from-home that invites guests to work, socialise, and relax.  

Photo: Arnaud Laplanche

Pullman Paris Montparnasse

19 Rue du Commandant René Mouchotte, 75014 Paris, France

The futuristic exterior of the Pullman Paris Montparnasse makes a striking sight in the city’s 14th arrondissement. CUT Architectures were tasked with transforming the sky-scraping building, designed back in 1972 by French architect Pierre Dufau, into Pullman’s luxury flagship and an ultra-modern multifunctional living space. The 957 rooms sport paired back interiors crafted from the hotel’s signature materials, think terrazzo, oak, and stainless steel, which lets the spectacular view sit centre stage. In the public spaces, an open plan design shows off the hotel’s vast volumes, with circular ceiling lights leading the way to the numerous meeting spaces and restaurants. Sitting atop the hotel is the appropriately named Sky Bar, the highest rooftop terrace in the city, which serves up cocktails with Eiffel Tower views.