The application of design and architecture to deliver great guest experiences are at the heart of AHEAD.
The criteria for success are based not only on creative excellence, but also on commercial viability.
As well as projects that are aesthetically impressive, the judges will be looking for evidence that winning designs have also met the needs of client and customers alike.
The judges will be looking for submissions showing rigorous and appropriate design, demonstrating a sensible use of budget to contribute to the guest experience as well as the 'theatre' of hotel life while satisfying the client brief.
Submitted material should demonstrate clearly why the project is thought to be worth an award in its chosen category and how the design sets the project at an award-winning level.
Click here to see the entry criteria checklist, which guides you through the entry process.
AHEAD Europe is adjudicated by an independent panel of experts, comprising leading hospitality architects, designers, owners, operators, developers and industry commentators.
The judging process for AHEAD Europe has been carefully developed to ensure a rigorous, robust and balanced procedure is followed to select the final winners in each category.
Chris Webb leads Hilton’s Architecture and Design team across multiple offices, overseeing and guiding design projects across Hilton’s Europe, Middle East & Africa region. He has been designing and shaping international luxury, lifestyle, and full service hotels for a wide range of owners, developers, hospitality companies, celebrities and brands for over 20 years. Directing the design of all Hilton branded hotels in the region, he lead the design of the first Waldorf Astoria, as well as most recently the category defining Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre, Hilton’s first lifestyle hotel.
Alba Biedermann joined Design Hotels to manage the curation and qualitative growth of the member portfolio in EMEA.
Alba believes in visionaries with an imaginative spirit who dare to seek the unexpected and create original experiences for the traveler of tomorrow. Her multidisciplinary background and intuitive sense for aesthetics, culture and branding in the digital and physical space, let her shape the collection of Design Hotels members – and contribute to the strategic development and further evolution of the brand.
Previously, Alba spent six years successfully contributing to developing a digital lifestyle agency in London and Germany, where she worked with prestigious clients like Net-a-Porter, Alexander McQueen and Made.com.
As an Alumni of Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Alba has a solid understanding of the hospitality industry. Her curiosity for the lifestyle sector and appreciation for sophisticated design led to a Masters in Fashion & Luxury Brand Management at Istituto Marangoni in London as well as Interior Design courses at Central Saint Martin.
Chris Penn is an experienced operator, creator and curator of hospitality experiences. A career spanning 25 years has seen him operate hotels across a broad spectrum of markets, including the lifestyle segment within which he has become well known.
Chris left employment in 2016 to build his own hotel businesses and has created two brands, Steel and Birch, the latter of which launched to huge acclaim in 2020. He is a pioneer of new experience, a believer in challenging impossible both personally and professionally and an ambassador for humanity in hospitality.
Dennis is a Director at Richmond International, passionate about all things design, ensuring integrity, honesty and inherent design flair in all his projects. Prior to joining Richmond International, Dennis founded and led Dennis Irvine Studio delivering worldwide luxury projects ranging from wellness SPA’s, private residences, super yachts to restaurants and hotels for prestigious operators both renowned and independent. Clients have included Marriott Luxury Collection, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Raffles Hotels & Resorts, The Dorchester Collection and Waldorf Astoria Hotels.
Dennis previously worked for several renowned London design studios and worked on prestigious and unique projects to hone his design skills, spearheading international projects from concept to completion.
Through global travel and engaging in multiple luxury commissions, Dennis has gained a wealth of design experience. Exposure to various cultures and collaborations has enriched his design aesthetic. His innate ability to respect and refine the client’s vision informs the studios ethos and principles.
Dennis has previously won an AHEAD Europe award and was listed in House and Garden’s ‘Leading 100 Interior Designers’ and Country & Townhouse ‘Finest 50 Interior Designers’. He often speaks at major industry events and his work is regularly published in Sleeper, Forbes, AD, Robb Report, Hospitality Design & House & Garden.
Born in Rome, growing-up in London and currently residing in Paris, Federico explains his design thinking by comparing it to his barbecuing skills: nomadic but rooted in European traditions, informed by an experimental antipodean approach and with a twist of American confidence.
Federico leads the team that defines the design and product strategy and creates standards and concept guidelines for Accor’s luxury and premium hospitality brands, overseeing design initiatives to evolve the design, performance, guest experience and market development of their brands.
A qualified architect with over 20 years of experience in hospitality, focusing on the design of hotels, resorts, private residences and high-end retail, he delivers experience driven luxury projects and has overseen the development of innovative and award-winning destinations.
Federico’s strategic team is the key link between the Luxury, Premium, Lifestyle & Partner Brands and the Regional Design & Technical Services Teams, working closely with Operations, Marketing, Brand and Development, facilitating concept creation with the necessary market adaptations across the globe.
Henry Reeve as Director of Interior Design for InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) is responsible for the design, development and product quality of all new openings and refurbishments of both Kimpton and Hotel Indigo properties across the EMEAA region.
Since joining IHG in 2015, Henry has become an integral part of the Design & Engineering team. Henry has been instrumental in positioning both the neighbourhood story led boutique brand Hotel Indigo and launching Luxury brand Kimpton into Europe to ultimately deliver over 40 brand defining and often award winning boutique and luxury hotels across the EMEAA region.
Henry has worked across the majority of IHGs brands. Notable projects include the successful creation and subsequent roll-out of the new Holiday Inn Express Design scheme across the wider European region, in addition to leading the creation of the noted Luxury eco-led QO Amsterdam Hotel.
Prior to joining IHG Henry was Associate Director at forpeople, and a Creative Director and Designer at a number of guest experience, retail, and event agencies based across London. Henry has worked for clients as diverse as Nike, Lotus, Peugeot, Mulberry, Bollinger, Pfizer, Coca-Cola & McDonalds.
London-based Iain Ainsworth is the founder and creator of The Aficionados - a highly sought travel reference for those who seek fabulous hotels that fuse effortless luxe, sound design and authenticity.
The Aficionados feature some 90+ European hotels, private-hire design houses and creatively inspired guesthouses alongside a rafter of more than 100 makers, producing an emporium of online travel culture and lifestyle. The company also publishes four style-led magazines: Blueprint Beauts, Farmhouse Fabulous, Casa Gorgeous and Neu Heritage.
Before setting up his company, Iain spent four years on a non-stop travel hike as Executive Vice President at Design Hotels AG, whereby his passion for architecture and hotel interiors flourished. Previously he enjoyed the high life at the French Taittinger group as regional Marketing & Sales Director - Concorde Hotels & Resorts for Hotel de Crillon Paris and the Martinez Cannes. Iain also lived in Berlin for ten years, moving there just after the Berlin wall fell. He worked for several years in publishing before returning to the hotel world and Kempinski Hotels as Director of Sales & Marketing, including the pre-opening of Hotel Adlon Berlin.
Iain is an enthusiastic entrepreneur with some 26 years of hotel marketing & brand experience, a keen lover of local hero concept hotels that are crafted, ooze personality, have a soul and were simply cast just for their neighbourhood.
Jason has almost two decades of experience executing significant developments throughout Europe for several renowned hotel chains.
His passion for dining and nightlife, anchored to a deep knowledge of hotel brands in the upper lifestyle/luxury sector, has, in recent years, been his motivation.
Jason joined Benihana, part of Minor International, in Q4 2019. He is responsible for the global growth (outside the US, Caribbean & South America) and operational strategy for a group in its 58th year.
His philosophy on the brand is simple; everyone who visits Benihana will enjoy the theatre at the heart of the experience, where the chefs are the entertainers, and our guests are the show's stars. The performance enjoyed in this culinary extravaganza has set new global standards in the world of experiential dining.
Benihana holdings have 19 locations across 12 countries with a solid growth trajectory of additional restaurants to forthcoming openings in Europe, Canada, the Middle East & Asia.
Jonny Sin is a Board Director of ReardonSmith Architects and has extensive experience in the delivery of luxury hotel developments. He joined RSA in 2011, and his leadership qualities, collaborative instinct and committed work ethic have ensured his swift promotion to board director.
Jonny is highly skilled in taking both new-build and refurbishment projects all the way from early inception to completion and his experience in the hospitality sector ranges from Grade II Listed heritage projects to high-rise developments. One of his projects, The Beaumont in Mayfair, London was awarded “Best Hotel in the World” upon its opening in 2014. During this project, Jonny worked closely with noted British artist Sir Antony Gormley bringing together art and architecture in a unique way. Most recently, he has acted as Hotel Operational Planning Consultant for Zaha Hadid Architects and is currently undertaking a similar role on an exciting new hotel development in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Jonny is also leading the architectural and design team on one of London’s most prestigious hotel schemes; the renovation of The Dorchester, the first phase of which is due to complete in Q4 2022.
ReardonSmith Architects was founded in 1988 to provide a specialised architectural service dedicated to the hotel and hospitality industry in all its forms and is today an award-winning global leader in international hotel and resort design. The RIBA and CIAT Chartered Practice has an unrivalled track record in the restoration of luxury hotels in London and major European cities, an enviable reputation for the design of new destinations in Europe and the widest experience of hotel architecture across the entire spectrum of new-build and existing estates. The company’s achievement stems from a profound understanding of hotels – as an asset, an operation and as a guest experience.
Renowned in the industry for her warm and emotionally intelligent approach, Linda’s 14-year career has seen her work for an impressive roster of global clients. Before founding her own studio in 2020, Linda was Design Director of Soho House where she was responsible for Asia, Europe and the UK regions, overseeing a team of nearly one hundred people including architects, interior designers and a procurement team. She took overall design responsibility for members’ clubs, overseeing hotel rooms, restaurants, bars, lounges, event and co-working spaces, bespoke furniture lines and home accessories.
Previously Linda worked at leading architecture and design practices including Tom Dixon, Martin Brudnizki, Woods Bagot and Tara Bernerd, collaborating on sites and destinations for Caprice Holdings, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Greenland Group, Morgans (now SBE), Nobu Global, Qantas, Starwood Capital and Virgin Hotels.
Linda grew up in Hungary and her passion for design was ignited by her parents; her father is an architect and her mother, a passionate collector of arts and antiques, founded a Pulitzer winning design magazine. Linda trained to be a fashion designer in Paris before deciding on a career in interior design. Drawing daily inspiration from art, fashion, literature, music, cinema, architecture and craft, she aims to create projects that balance individuality and functionality, heritage and modernity, character and comfort. She is in demand as an industry commentator, speaker, design columnist and judge.
Matthew's passion for creative design can be traced back to his academic days when he would undertake a very creative based curriculum including photography, technical design and art. He continually pursues to work and collaborate with varied creative teams globally.
For the last 20 years, Matthew has been focused purely in hospitality design which has taken him on some fascinating adventures. Travelling all over the world, he is - at heart - a problem solver who builds strong design teams, with a personal passion for hospitality design and development. Matthew is now focused upon developing Marriott’s Luxury Brands across EMEA.
Ria Vogiatzi was born in Athens, Greece and completed her studies in the Architecture school of the National Technical University of Athens.
The sculptural approach of her design, deconstruction of fluid forms, was the inspiration for the name of the architectural studio, ELASTIC Architects, founded in 2005 together with Architect Alexandros Xenos, which is now an international architectural brand with a global portfolio that includes mainly hotel and mixed-use resort projects, with a clientele of Aman Resorts, Janu by Aman, One & Only Resorts, Marriott, Accor, Nammos Restaurants & Hotels, Nobu, Hyatt, The Edition, Brown Hotels, Banyan Tree Resorts etc.
Fortune magazine recognised her as a Trailblazer for her avant-garde design, she was awarded the World Woman Leader of Advanced Architecture by the Who is Who International Awards, and has been announced as Ambassador of Advanced Architecture.
Her projects have received multiple awards in America, Europe and England, and she has given important speeches on architecture, both in Greece and abroad.
Before founding A Studio Between in 2022, Richard McConkey was Head of Hospitality at Universal Design Studio, having led, designed and delivered many of Universal’s award-winning projects. These include the AHEAD-winning At Six hotel in Stockholm, ground floor architecture for Ace Hotel London, nine iterations of the Frieze Art Fair in both London & New York and the guestrooms and suites at the 381-room Villa Copenhagen.
Now as founder of bespoke practice A Studio Between, Richard is developing a studio that is original, open and quietly radical in its approach. Currently working across hospitality and arts projects in Europe, UK & the US, the studio is focusing on delivering deeply crafted, personal and people-focused responses to place.
Rune Askevold is the Co-Founder and CEO of PURO Hotels. The group opened their first hotel in 2011 and currently have 7 hotels in prime locations in the major cities of Poland. Work has begun on a new hotel in Budapest which is set to open in 2024, heralding a wider European expansion programme. A further two new hotels in Warsaw are also expected to open in 2024.
With a strong passion for craftsmanship and design, Rune is deeply involved in the creative direction of PURO and leads the creative team. Working closely with the finest international interior design studios has led to the creation of unique and refined experiences of contemporary luxury. The commissioning of local artists and designers results in an authentic and crafted ambiance in tune with the neighbourhood of each hotel.
Rune is Norwegian and PURO Hotels has a strong sense of the Scandinavian spirit of ‘hygge’ in the way the hotels are run, their strong sense of local connection and their creative path.
PURO Hotels have been frequently shortlisted in Sleeper magazine’s AHEAD Awards, winning at AHEAD Europe in 2019.
Tina Norden is an architect and interior designer with a diverse portfolio stretching across many contexts and continents, from hotel and restaurant design to high-end residential. She studied architecture at Westminster before joining Conran and Partners in 1997, completing her MA in Architecture + Interiors at the Royal College of Art in 2000.
With every project, Tina approaches the brief by delving into its context and unique history to create timeless spaces that tell a story. She designs for style over fashion to ensure the result is long-lasting and consistently fresh.
Tina has recently completed the new Park Hyatt Auckland and is working on two subsequent projects in Asia Pacific. She is also working on a number of high profile residential developments in the region.
Other recently completed projects include the new FEAST restaurant within Hong Kong’s EAST Hotel, Hotel Maximilian in Prague and the White Label QO for the IHG hotel brand in Amsterdam. She also led the design for the F+B areas at Hotel Icon, the refurbishment of the Hong Kong Club, the Roppongi Hills Club for Mori Building in Tokyo and the recent KEF Gallery in Central alongside a number of hospitality and residential projects in both Asia and the UK with a particular focus on public areas and F&B spaces.
Toni Black is an interior designer with experience heading large scale project in the middle east, Africa and Europe for over 18+ years. She began her design carer as a lighting design consultant working on iconic buildings and redevelopment projects for award winning practices then moving into interior design.
Toni's previous projects range from bespoke private residencies and palaces, shopping centres including hospitality developments of circa 150million GDV, and large airports developments.
Toni has a great understanding of space enabling her to create and re-invent exquisite balanced interiors. She has worked with clients such as; Marriott Courtyard, Luxury Collection, Autograph Collection, Fairmont, Sheraton, The Ritz Carlton, Le Meridian, Hilton, Park Inn, Burberry, Dubai & Jeddah International Airport.
The brand Lasvit, founded in 2007 by Leon Jakimič, sheds new light on Bohemian glass and takes it into the next millennium. Lasvit combines the authenticity of glass craft with innovative technologies and creative craftsmanship. In a few short years, Lasvit has established itself as the authority delivering bespoke lighting sculptures and art installations made from hand-blown glass.
Collaborations with renowned designers and artists produce also unique glass collections. Nendo, Ross Lovegrove, Daniel Libeskind, Maarten Baas, Czech legends René Roubíček and Bořek Šípek are among those who choose Lasvit in order to embody their unconventional artistic vision, endow it with the precision and mastery of our glassmakers, and produce impressive creative oeuvre. This is a manifesto of Lasvit’s uncompromising mission: To transform glass into breathtaking light and design experiences.Visit site
TOPHOTELPROJECTS is the heart of a global community of suppliers and decision-makers which initiates and supports the communication relating to building, design, furnishing, and operation of hotels.
We are a German research firm covering global hotel constructions, that over a decade branched out into hospitality events, media, and hotel design.
No other company comes close in supporting the hotel industry by efficiently combining different business areas into one integrated solution.
Ever since the hotel industry veteran Rolf W. Schmidt founded the company in 2009, our core activity is building the world’s most comprehensive directory of:
We took the complex, ever-evolving global hospitality industry and introduced it to our German sense of efficiency and sheer hard work.
Our research team of some 25 experienced professionals spends 1,800 hours a month researching hotel projects around the world.
Our database has been 10 years in the making, during which we gathered information on over 24,000 hotel projects and 120,000 related companies. Currently, our database has information on more than 6,500 ongoing hotel projects worldwide – important details included.
TOPHOTELPROJECTS today represents an exhaustive, ever-growing network of professionals from all major sectors of the hospitality industry: owners, developers, investors, brands, operators, architects, designers, and suppliers.
In 2019, TOPHOTELPROJECTS and Sleeper Media signed a strategic partnership with mutual co-investment. This partnership combines digital expertise and in-depth data of TOPHOTELPROJECTS with Sleeper Media’s leading hospitality offerings. It is all about synergy and a win for all sectors of the industry.Visit site
KALDEWEI – your worldwide partner for iconic bathroom solutions shaped from superior steel enamel. KALDEWEI’s extensive range of bathtubs, shower surfaces, and washbasins are ideally suited to the demands of the hospitality industry delivering an increased level of health and wellbeing awareness for your hotel. The smooth, non-porous glass surface not only gives you security against germs and dirt but is also the material of the future. KALDEWEI steel enamel is made of 100% natural materials and is 100% recyclable, so it’s good for your guests and the planet too.
To learn more visit KALDEWEI.comVisit site
Founded in 1892 in Switzerland, LAUFEN has become one of the world's leading companies for sanitary ceramics. Today LAUFEN Bathrooms provided integrated bathroom concepts with high-quality products, ranging from sanitary ceramics to bathtubs and shower trays, furniture, faucets, and accessories.Visit site
Villeroy & Boch, formed in 1748, is a leading ceramics manufacturer steeped in European culture and history, and one of the biggest international premium brands in the areas of bathrooms and wellness.
Villeroy & Boch offers the finest and most innovative bathroom products and furnishing concepts for both private customers and property developers. The company is a pioneer in the realm of ceramic product design and innovation. Villeroy & Boch beautiful, high-quality products are hallmarks of French design flair and German engineering efficiency.Visit site
Interdecor Design, with over 20 years of experience, we are proud to be considered the leading 5-star international interiors contractor within Europe.
Garnering an undisputed reputation amongst clients for our manufacturing capability and skilled team, we offer products, with a commitment to style, quality and value, ensuring absolute client satisfaction.
Professionalism is ensured throughout all stages, with Interdecor assuming control of the project from initial site surveys to completion, providing value engineering advice, sample finishes, prototype rooms, achieving strict budget requirements, and meeting tough delivery schedules and completion dates for all our clients. Interdecor has undertaken complex projects often requiring hand finishing, inlay, and intricate carving. Our team uses the latest computer technology and has access to constant training programs. Considering our expertise, dedicated management team, and project managers, we can confidently guarantee all our clients will be completely satisfied with our performance across all project stages. Our primary objective is to provide interior designers, contractors, major international hotel operators, and private clients with the highest quality bespoke furniture, upholstery, architectural millwork, and complete interiors for bedrooms and public areas.Visit site
BECK was founded in 1994 to deliver world-leading interior fit-outs for the luxury, lifestyle, and museum sectors. We’re still privately owned and committed to producing world-class craftsmanship, whether on-site or in our bespoke in-house joinery facility.
We collaborate with architects and designers from our UK headquarters in Surrey, just outside central London, but our work takes us all over the world wherever clients demand outstanding interiors with unparalleled attention to detail.Visit site
Preciosa Lighting elevates the heritage of Bohemian crystal through contemporary lighting designs since 1724. The company is built on centuries of tradition and the unique art of master glassmakers from Crystal Valley. We honour this heritage and craftsmanship by creating innovative lighting products that stand the test of time.
Our lighting styles range from individual luxury lighting to dynamic and interactive installations. As a global company, Preciosa cooperates with designers worldwide to create exclusive lights that reflect our spirit. Our historic chandeliers and contemporary projects can be found in hotels, resorts, fine restaurants, luxury residences, cultural institutions and on board yachts and cruise ships in locations as varied as New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Moscow or London.
Preciosa Lighting can create unrivaled emotional experiences by combining the traditional art form of chandelier craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology. This knowledge is what drives our intention to unveil the symbolic as well as the aesthetic power of decorative lighting. It led us to create Preciosa’s Signature Designs which are highlighted by countless customization possibilities to perfectly fit the owner’s desires.
Signature Designs are authentic, timeless, and celebrate design. We are inspired by the allure of crystal combined with light. Creative craftsmanship is evident through the versatility of each light; customizable for space and its uses. Preciosa’s advanced use of technology is seen in every element of the design. They present contemporary styles with a timeless quality.Visit site
Close to you
As a global manufacturer of sanitary products and installation systems, “close to you” is our promise. We have been operating as an independent, family-run business in close proximity to people and the markets for over 30 years. Curiosity about our customers’ world leads us to develop well-thought-out products and services and will continue to drive our innovative approach forwards in the future. Innovation, design, and high-quality standards are our main drivers. Our system solutions combine permanently safe functions with a timeless design. This combination is representative of the driving force behind our company – making good products even better.
In front of and behind the wall. TECE’s areas of competence encompass outstanding sanitary design elements such as toilet flush plates including cisterns, prefabricated wall modules, a toilet with shower function, and elegant shower channels or shower profiles.
We support your international project activities by consulting you, providing the configuration of water supply systems, and preparing the accurate technical design of prefabricated wall modules. We assist you with the fulfillment of all relevant local regulations and environmental certification. You can rely on a fast, responsive, and reliable service.
Around 1’500 employees globally manufacture and serve clients – TECE products are available in more than 50 countries.Visit site
Designing and manufacturing everything in bathrooms.
Roca began life as a family business manufacturing cast iron radiators at a factory in Gavà, near Barcelona in 1917. Over the years, the portfolio gradually expanded and by 1929, Roca entered the bathroom environment for the first time. With an attentive focus on social changes, Roca has since been pioneering when tackling issues surrounding sustainability, design, and technology, and remains at the forefront of these innovations today. Today, Roca reaches over 170 countries, supplied by 76 production plants with more than 20,000 employees worldwide. After one hundred years, Roca is still proud to call itself a family business.Visit site