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Home is where the hearth is

5 July 2012 / Ecosmart Fire


TAGS / hospitality

Image:Home is where the hearth is

Luxury hotels around the world are embracing the versatility and ambiance of EcoSmart Fire to create intimate spaces where guests can kick back and relax in front of the fireplace.

The soaring popularity of the boutique hotel in recent times, driven by demand for more intimate, local accommodation experiences, has had an inevitable impact on the luxury hotel design scene.

No longer is it enough to rely on slick modern interiors as a main drawcard. Instead, comfort and practicality are winning through at the high-end of town with the emergence of engaging social spaces, offering a home away from home. And the warmth and ambiance of a real fireplace is often a key drawcard.

“Top end luxury hotels have realised that there’s a great appeal in designs that keep alive the social, local ideas of the traditional hotel,” says Jenny Price, The Fire Company. “We’re seeing the emergence of a series of spaces that are communal and intimate, formal and informal – and that all incorporate the element of fire.”

A residential respite

In New York, the luxury AKA Sutton Place has recently opened the striking a.lounge, a place where residents can relax and enjoy coffee and pastries in the morning and wine and cocktails in the evening.

Designed by the acclaimed Meyer Davis Studio, known for celebrated NYC restaurants Locanda Verde and Boqueria as well as noteworthy hospitality and residential projects around the US, the a.lounge has been created to artfully complement Sutton Place’s traditional warmth with a relaxing ambiance.

An EcoSmart Fire XL700 burner has been incorporated into a setting with a marble top – a design element consistent with the lounge’s stunning marble bar – and is surrounded by blackened steel on two sides and above.

“The open fireplace is the centre element of the lounge, creating a focal point that divides the seating groups,” explains Meaghan Wren from Meyer Davis Studio. “It’s the feature that can be seen from all areas of the space and enhances the warmth of the walnut panelled room.”

Meaghan says it was very important to have an open fire in the lounge. “We love the sense of comfort a fireplace gives,” she says. “To have a fireplace in a hotel where most guests stay for weeks and months at a time helps provide a home away from home feeling.”

Given that many places in New York City are not equipped to have a fireplace because of ventilation issues, the Meyer Davis team discovered EcoSmart Fire while researching ventless options. “We love the modern look of the EcoSmart products,” Meaghan says. “The ventless aspect of the system is important because we are able to use them in places where ventilation is not possible.”

Down to business

Luxury hotels targeting the business market are also embracing the new home away from home trend. The award-winning Westin Hotel in Sydney has recently added its very own personal touch with the opening of its new Lobby Room, a private retreat for business travellers.

Interior designer Joseph Pang wanted to create an atmosphere akin to being in your own lounge room, which he has achieved through chocolate hues and robust textures. A key feature of the space – and the main focal point for the central sitting area – is its open fireplace, created using an EcoSmart Fire BK5 Burner with stainless steel surrounds and a toughened glass screen.

The fire has been set into a special feature wall, with black gloss, random sized ceramic tiles. Flanking the fireplace are specially positioned round mirrors, with two lounge chairs situated either side of the fire.

“The EcoSmart Fire creates an intimate, warm and homely feel, similar to a lounge room environment,” explains project designer Rebecca Ng from Joseph Pang Design Consultants. “The fire is safe, reliable, contemporary and elegant.”

The new Lobby Room was part of a refurbishment and extension of the hotel’s Lobby Bar and Lounge. According to Rebecca, the complete look needed to project a stronger sense of identity whilst maintaining the hotel’s five-star image, particularly in light of the numerous new and trendy boutique venues which had opened in the vicinity.

A stylish drawcard

In London, a Triple Burner Kit from EcoSmart Fire is also creating an intimate atmosphere in another high end luxury hotel refurbishment: the stylish new May Fair Bar at The May Fair Hotel – now acclaimed as the best hotel bar in London.

“We needed a stylish solution with a proper wow factor to please our high profile clientele,” says Wayne Coddington, from The Radisson, owners of The May Fair Hotel. “EcoSmart Fire’s triple burner kit offered unlimited design flexibility and emission-free ethanol fuelled heating.”

Wayne says the EcoSmart Fire has already become a major drawcard for May Fair Bar patrons. “The resulting design certainly exceeded our expectations. Its powerful, bright yellow flame is an attractive drawcard. May Fair Bar guests cross the full length of the bar to come and sit next to the fireplace, which is both a functional and contemporary design showpiece,” he says.

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