The organisers of Ahead, the Awards for Hospitality Experience and Design had to cancel their awards ceremony due to Covid-19, and so they revealed the winners of its Asia edition via a special webcast on March 12.
The webcast will be followed by a celebratory event on Sept 7, when the Outstanding Contribution Award and Ahead Asia Hotel of the Year winners will be announced.
“We were, sadly, unable to host our award ceremony as originally planned in Singapore due to the coronavirus, but of course the health and safety of our guests is paramount. We remain committed to celebrating the best in hospitality experience and design, so we took the opportunity to try something new and host our first ever awards webcast, ” awards director Matt Turner said.
The Ahead Asia awards recognises the most innovative and outstanding designs across the region.
Dominating the online event was Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, which swept up five awards for its Rosewood Hong Kong and Rosewood Bangkok properties.
Studio Bensley, renowned for its over-the-top projects, won two prizes for Capella Sanya, China, and Hotel de le Coupole, Vietnam.
Meanwhile, a house in an ancient village in China which was transformed into a hotel, embracing the Japanese aesthetics of wabi-sabi, or beauty in imperfection, bagged the Hotel Conversion award.
Taking home the Transport category award was The Oracle, a 35m-yacht that respects the environment and was built using traditional Indonesian boat-making techniques.
Here is the list of winners:
This AvroKO-designed speakeasy bar-cum-record shop boasts a 6,000-strong vinyl collection. Guests can also bring their own LPs to be played by the resident DJ. Located on the 30th floor, the space won praise for its rich details and great acoustics.
Inspired by the rich, multi-cultural history of the Silk Road, LTW Designworks used a palette of sandy brown millwork, textured grey upholstery, earth-toned marble, and ochre-shaded carpeting to give the guestrooms a “warm and inviting feeling”.
One of 23 households in the ancient, untouched village of Wunongding in Yunnan, this former hostel was restored by Zhao Yang Architects and designer Ke Xie. The hotel follows the philosophy of wabi-sabi through the aged texture of natural materials, salvaged wood, earthy colours, and an aesthetic that focuses on “emptiness”.
Located at the centre of the Victoria Dockside district, this project pays homage to the Cheng family legacy, who established the iconic New World Centre site in the 1980s on the same site. The eight-year project received praise for being “a truly landmark property that is possibly the most comprehensive expression of the Rosewood brand”.
After a three-year refurbishment effort led by a line-up of global architecture and design practices, this iconic building reopened to reveal a space that is elegant, graceful yet friendly and lively, with new technological features to enhance guest experience.
Capella Sanya’s landscaping represents a modern take on traditional Chinese gardens. The element of water features heavily throughout the hotel which, according to Chinese feng shui, is a symbol of wealth and abundance. It stood out for the good balance in softscape (live horticultural elements of a landscape) and hardscape (man-made features of a landscape).
This double-height lobby features patterned timber walls that form wing-like motifs. Meanwhile, a feature wall designed with rows of curved lines and vertical white slats gives off a movement effect.
This resort connects five of Bhutan’s western and central valleys, with each lodge – Thimphu, Punakha, Paro, Gangtey and Bumthang – portraying different designs that showcase the diversity and special character of each location.
Inspired by the Chinese legend of the Weaver Girl and the Cowherd, AvroKo has whipped up a luxurious, contemporary dining experience with this restaurant. It features a 7m-high light installation with a moongate screen, blue lacquered ceilings and 800 hand-folded brass metal mesh creations, impressing judges with the level of intricate details and dramatic Art Deco aesthetic.
Described as a “showstopper” by judges, the Hôtel de la Coupole tells the story of a marriage between Indochine style and French haute couture. For the spa, world renowned designer Bill Bensley embellished the walls and ceilings with classic cornicing and patterned wallpaper created from local embroidery motifs. Huge green marble columns line the pool, which also features rich pink chandeliers.
Designed by hotelier Alexa Genoyer, the founder of Blue Karma Secrets – an exclusive collection of boutique hotels, villas and boats – The Oracle is a custom-built 35m phinisi, or two-masted yacht, that sails the Indonesian seas.
Its commitment to sustainable and conscious travelling is evident with the use of locally sourced wood and traditional Indonesian boat-building methods.
This hotel’s concept brings a new meaning to the term “hospitality experience” by integrating guests into the local community and its culture through standalone lodgings, separate check-in and local cafés.
Studio Ongarato was tasked with creating an overarching narrative that would complement the hotel’s rich site heritage.
Drawing inspiration from the layering of the old and new, the brand imagery was sourced from the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office, before being combined with rich green textures to create unique layered compositions.
Despite its bold geometric steel grid shell, this five-bedroom luxury lodge blends effortlessly into its surroundings by using natural rock, timber and a neutral colour palette throughout the interiors.
The lodge also believes in sustainability and adopts off-grid solutions for energy and water.
This corner suite offers guests sweeping panoramic harbour views, making it a comfortable getaway from the bustling city below.
Tonychi Studio took on a new approach with this inter-connecting event venue. Covering two floors of sun-filled spaces that look out onto the harbour, it also includes an elegant ballroom with a dramatic Skyfold partition (wall partition that retracts like an accordion).