Hotels that are Breaking New Ground


Travelling has become a lifestyle and a necessity to many, especially to millennials. They let the world know where they are, what they do and what cool hotels they sleep in through social media. According to Google Consumer Insights, over 70% of US travellers always use their smartphones when travelling. Other studies show that about 78% of them choose to splurge on experiences over “things”, and they are more interested in travelling abroad than the older generation. With this kind of outlook, the hospitality business has been taking them into account when creating a new venture. Many of the new hotel brands are targeted to millennials, which manifest in the design, services and facilities.

Story by Vira Tanka & Barbara Hahijary

Andaz by Hyatt

The new hotel Andaz Singapore is where you want to stay if you’re looking for a modern place with a fun and local vibe designed for the tech-savvy. Located in DUO Building, Andaz was designed by a German starchitect Ole Scheeren. The interior was done by Andre Fu, who is known for his gorgeous hotel designs throughout Asia. With ‘andaz’ meaning ‘personal style’ in Hindi, Andre adapts the local culture into his design. Vibrant colours combined with modern and slick elements are applied as an embodiment of the Singapore feel.

As most new properties targeted to the youth nowadays, there are many Instagram-worthy spots in Andaz Singapore, namely the infinity pool and rooftop bar.

Andaz Singapore is the first Andaz hotel in Southeast Asia, while the first Andaz hotel is in London. It is exciting to see how the Andaz hotel in Bali is going to turn out once the construction is complete.

Canopy by Hilton

At Canopy, you can expect to experience local culture within the hotel. The first Canopy opened in July 2016 in Reykjavik, Iceland, one of the top cities of 2018 European destinations. The hotel design is expected for a Nordic building; simple yet luxurious with clean lines and dashes of vibrant colours in the furniture and artworks.

Canopy aims for travellers who seek culture in every city they visit. It appeals more to the tech-savvy travellers as it provides hi-tech services such as mobile check-in and room access easily done by using your phone. The lobby, called Canopy Central, is the main area where guests can mingle and go for local artisanal breakfast as well as local beverages. After Reykjavik, four more Canopy hotels have opened in the US, and more are in development in the US, the UK, Canada, China and Malaysia.

Cordis by Langham Hospitality Group

Cordis Hong Kong is a rebrand from the Langham Place, situated in the bustling shopping area of Mongkok. The 42-storey building is home to nearly 700 renovated rooms, aiming the rising middle class from around the world.

Like with other hotels in this list, connectivity and seamless technologies are part of the contemporary Cordis. What’s more, it offers impressive visual experiences a millennial would appreciate. The floor-to-ceiling windows spoil you with the unobstructed views of the amazing city. And an intensive collection of artworks is to be enjoyed throughout the property, with a total of 1,500 pieces. They include a Chinese ink painting by Wu Guanzhoung in the Michelin-starred Ming Court restaurant and a renowned grinning portrait by Yue Mingjun.

Dhawa by Banyan Tree

Dhawa, a new brand from the Singapore-based hotel group Banyan Tree, unveiled its first property in Cayo Las Brujas, Cuba, in July 2016. Compared to Banyan Tree resorts, Dhawa offers more energetic and youthful ambiance through its contemporary design and fun activities. It caters to an emerging group of design-savvy travellers who look for unique experiences in exotic destinations. Hi-tech amenities include e-concierge where guests can order in anything from beer to extra pillows even before they check-in at the hotel.

The second property, Dhawa Jinshanling, is nestled in the mountainous area at the foot of the Great Wall of China. The exterior is strongly inspired by traditional Chinese architecture. The modern interior is predominantly in neutral colours, accentuated by some pops of bright colours and infused with some cultural elements like the Asian screens. Mural of the mountains covers the wall behind the bed, and the Great Wall can be viewed through the windows of the Suites. Two more Dhawa hotels are opening soon in other parts of China.

Hotel Indigo and Avid by IHG

Seeing new places, meeting new people and being immersed in local cultures are some of the interesting things about travelling. InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) embraces the idea and implements it in Hotel Indigo. From the property design to the F&B, the hotel draws on the story of its local area. Being boutique hotels and located in culturally diverse places, no two Hotel Indigos are the same.

The Indigo name was first launched in Atlanta, Georgia, US, and finally hit Indonesia in 2017. Hotel Indigo in Seminyak, Bali, adopted Tri Hita Kirana in their design, a local philosophy that depicts the balance of personal relationship with the gods, humans, other living beings and the mother earth. The vertical garden connects guests with nature and the cascading wall design was inspired by subak, Balinese traditional agriculture method.

Also by IHG, Avid is a hotel brand that has just launched its first property this year in Oklahoma, US. It is designed in modern architecture, and the interior is furnished with retro furniture and playful elements. Thirty-one hotels of this high-quality midscale brand are in development in Mexico.

Jo&Joe by AccorHotels

TThe first Jo&Joe hotel opened in Hossegor, France, in May 2017. It is a favourite destination for young travellers, especially surfers. The hotel enhances the crowd’s experiences by providing communal areas for tripsters (travellers from out of town) and towners (people from the area) to mingle and do activities together. Local tours, meet-ups and concerts are in plan, as is a mobile app that will help organise these activities.

Jo&Joe’s design concept was created by Penson, a UK company that has also worked with Google, You Tube, PlayStation and Jay Z’s RocNation entertainment company. Each spot is instagrammable with a mix of design styles. It accommodates the need of millennials for unique experiences by providing hammocks, yurts and caravans to sleep in. A fast Wi-Fi connection and USB ports are amongst the basic facilities.

Jen by Shangri-La

The Jen brand is inspired by the virtual persona Jen, a professional hotelier who loves life, travel and the adventure of discovering new places. Predictably, the targeted market is the young millennials who travel for business or leisure. Ten Hotel Jens have opened in major cities in Asia Pacific, with the first one in Singapore, launched in 2014.

The interior of Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore is designed by a Hong Kong-based studio, BTR Workshop. Four wallpaper designs feature Singaporean themes; bicycles, orchids, goldfish and shop houses. They are applied in the 565 rooms with a lot of wood elements, but none of them are alike. Aside to being a home for travellers, the hotel aims to house creative events for local brands, ranging from food to fashion and art.

Moxy Hotels by Marriott International

Moxy Hotels by Marriott International has been an internet sensation since the establishment of its first property in Italy in 2014. The brand has gained popularity in the coolest cities of Europe and North America, with Asia being the most recent continent to get a taste of it. The first city in Asia to host the design-led hotel brand is none other than Bandung, the city known for its creative scene and innovative youth.

Architect Sonny Sutanto admitted that his work for Moxy Bandung was supervised by JW “Bill” Marriott Jr. himself, considering the importance of entering this new continent. It adopts the Art Deco style, which Bandung has strongly identified with since the Dutch colonial area. Inside, the design is a mix of popular culture and industrial design, creating a strong urban feel. Now this brand has expanded its network in Asia, with new properties in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan.

Vib by Best Western

A property from Best Western’s new hotel brand has opened in Antalya, Turkey, early in 2017. The name is Vib, derived from vibrant. It is a stylish urban boutique hotel in a contemporary architecture, designed for today’s connected travellers. Geometric lines are applied a lot in the interior, balanced with vibrant colours and ergonomic furniture.

The whole design focuses on convenience, technology and social engagement. Checking-in is made easy with a self-serve machine at the lobby, and high-speed Internet is available throughout the hotel. The guest room and suite is equipped with a smart TV, USB access, and signature Herman Miller desk chair at the work desk. After a long and busy day, especially when you’re travelling for work, you can relax at the Zen Zone or gaming pods, socialise with other guests at the bar area, or grab a bite at the Grab and Go stations.

Like this story, share to your friends
Barbara Hahijary
Barbara earned her bachelor's degree in architecture from the Interior Architecture Program of the University of Indonesia in 2013. Historical or heritage buildings, as well as utilitarian design, fascinates her as it is the interaction between people and architecture that remains her favourite topic to explore. Besides architecture, her interests include design, handcrafts, literature and social issues.

Related Stories