Climate change wreaks havoc on California tourism, what’s wrong with banquette seating, and nine international hotel brands join the Red Sea Project. All that and more in this week’s Five on Friday.

Will banquette seating soon be faux pas?

Mimi Kakushi in Dubai; photo by Pirajean Lees

In “Ban the Banquette,” Eater reporter Terrence Doyle makes a strong argument against the intimate L- or U-shaped seating arrangements many dining establishments embrace. While banquettes strive to be a cozy option that allow groups of diners to easily interact, Doyle points out in the piece that these arrangements are often inaccessible to wheelchair users and people with other disabilities. “Even if logistics can be shuffled around to allow a wheelchair user to post up on the outside edge of a banquette, most banquette tables are too high for wheelchair users, and many lack any real storage for canes, crutches, or walkers,” he writes. Plus, the closeness creates a claustrophobic aspect that may be uncomfortable—or even anxiety inducing—for those seated in the center of a large party.


Tour operator expands into the hotel market

Drifter – an Intrepid Hotel Christchurch, shown in a rendering

Australia-based companies Intrepid Travel has partnered with Drifter Hospitality Group to launch 15 hotels by 2025. According to Skift, the new venture will convert distressed real estate assets into hybrid hotel/hostels geared toward millennial travelers. To align with Intrepid Travel’s standards, each of the Drifter – an Intrepid Hotel-branded properties will be carbon neutral and employ sustainable practice across design, amenities, and services. The group has amassed approximately $56 million to target hotels in Australia and New Zealand, and plans to raise a total of roughly $375 million to expand its reach throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The first hotels are slated to open in 2022 in three New Zealand cities: Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.


Nine hotel brands sign on to Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project

Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates, the St. Regis Red Sea Resort will comprise 90 keys

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC)—the organization helming the behemoth luxury tourism destination situated on Saudi Arabia’s west coast—announced partnerships with nine international hotel brands that will operate properties set in phase one of the Red Sea Project, which is part of the country’s Vision 2030 plan. The brands include EDITION, Fairmont, Grand Hyatt, IHG, Jumeirah, Raffles, Six Senses, SLS, and St. Regis. A total of 16 hotels are expected to be operational by the end of 2023, reports Yahoo Finance. “Hospitality is the anchor of the Red Sea Project,” says TRSDC chief financial officer Jay Rosen. “We are determined to create a world-class luxury destination and the hotel brands we partner with play a crucial role in delivering on this ambition. Our partnerships are cemented through a collaborative framework that emphasize synchronicity between all brands.”


California tourism may be forever changed by global warming

From the Coachella Music Festival in April to the Napa Valley wine region, California’s most lauded destinations are facing new challenges due to unpredictable weather conditions and increasing temperatures. Wildfires consumed 4.2 million acres of the state in 2020, including roughly 42 percent of Napa County, according to the New York Times. Less snow also means shorter ski seasons, and residual smoke from wildfires disrupts even visitors to areas that are not burning. Despite these factors and lost revenue, however, many in the hospitality industry are slow to accept the potentially inevitable. As Dr. Daniel Scott of the University of Waterloo puts it: “Tourism in California is going to need some serious innovation. Good thing you’ve got Silicon Valley.”


Join us for Platinum Circle 2021

The Neri&Hu-designed Fuzhou Teahouse; photo by Hao Chen

Just two weeks left until the Platinum Circle Awards gala 2021! Tickets are still available for the 32nd annual event, presented by Hospitality Design. This year’s group of industry leaders, including designers, architects, and hoteliers, will be honored on Friday, November 12th at Cipriani 25 Broadway in New York. The evening will celebrate the careers of EDG Design president and CEO Jennifer Johanson, Neri&Hu partners Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, senior vice president of global design services for Hilton Larry Traxler, and Ace Hotel Group and Atelier Ace president and co-partner Brad Wilson. Click here to purchase tickets today.

The post Five on Friday: October 29th, 2021 appeared first on Hospitality Design.



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