Europe's best hotels offer experiences, say AHEAD awards judges

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Europe's best hotels offer "experiences that create memories" say AHEAD awards judges

Architects and designers are taking a holistic approach to create Europe's most successful new hotels, say judges of the AHEAD Europe hospitality awards, in this movie produced by Dezeen.

The AHEAD Europe hospitality awards, which took place in London last week, awarded projects including The Ned in LondonSão Lourenço do Barrocal in rural Portugal and At Six in Stockholm.

Judges said this the most successful projects in the awards offered experiences to guests, rather than just simple accommodation.

"What stood out was the experience that the judges have had while they were visiting the properties," says jury member Cristina Laurijssen, who is director of design and product services at the Rosewood Hotel Group.

"It's the holistic approach that the designers have taken for each particular property that has made an impact," she continues.

"I think that's what people are looking for, it's these different experiences that create memories that will stay with you"

The Ned in London was named hotel of the year at the AHEAD Europe awards

The Ned was the biggest winner. On top of being named hotel of the year, The Ned also topped the spa and wellness, and the restaurant and events spaces categories.

Tom Hupe, director of hospitality at Perkins + Will, says that the jury was impressed by the way The Ned's design team made use of the Grade-I listed Edwin Lutyens building that houses it.

The Ned's design team made great use of the grade-one listed Edwin Lutyens-designed building that houses it, says AHEAD awards judge Tom Hupe

"They've managed to utilise the whole of the building," he says in the movie, which Dezeen filmed at the Ace Hotel in London, where the judging took place.

"Being a Lutyens-designed building, every space has been detailed, so wherever you go you find amazing aspects to the building," he explains. "It takes guests to places that they wouldn't normally go, but you still find amazing aspects when you get there."

The AHEAD Europe awards took place in November 2017.
São Lourenço do Barrocal is a converted farmhouse in Portugal that was named resort of the year in the AHEAD Europe awards

Laurijssen picks out São Lourenço do Barrocal in Portugal, which was named resort of the year, as another example.

"It's an old farmhouse that has been restored" she says. "The farmhouse still keeps its essential character, yet it brings it into the contemporary realm."

Designed by Eduardo Souto de Moura, São Lourenço do Barrocal retains the character of the original farmhouse, say judges

The hotel was designed by Portugese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. "He knew exactly how much to touch and how much he shouldn't, and that's what makes it so rich," claims Laurijssen.

At Six in Stockholm was described by judge Cristina Laurijssen as "a very stylish hotel"

Another big winner was At Six in Stockholm, which was lauded as the best urban hotel conversion, and for having the best guest rooms.

"At Six is a conversion of an existing brutalist office building on a square in Stockholm," Hupe says. "The arrival experience faces you with a grand staircase with a huge statue in the centre of that space, and the feeling that that creates is key to the success of the overall design."

"They've done a great job of transforming this office block into a very stylish hotel," Laurijssen adds.

"They've done a great job of transforming an office block into the very stylish At Six hotel," says judge Cristina Laurijssen

Jury chair Javier Hortal, technical services director at Mandarin Oriental Hotels, singled out the Roomers Baden Baden hotel as another project of merit.

Hortal describes the Piero Lissoni-designed project as "a very contemporary lifestyle hotel in what was known as a traditional luxury destination."

Jury chair Javier Hortal singled out Roomers Baden Baden as a project of merit

"It has the potential to transform the very essence of that destination," he claims.

"It does not feel like your conservative spa hotel that you usually find in Baden Baden, so it's quite groundbreaking for that location," adds Laurijssen. "He's really set the tone for a new way of looking at spa resorts."

Roomers "does not feel like your conservative spa hotel that you usually find in Baden Baden", says Laurijssen

This movie was produced by Dezeen for AHEAD. It was filmed at the Ace Hotel in London.

All photography is courtesy of AHEAD.