AHEAD, the awards for hospitality experience and design, has announced the winners of AHEAD Asia 2022.
Organised by industry-leading publication Sleeper, AHEAD comprises four regional annual awards programmes concluding in a global finale. The series celebrates the achievements of those shaping the hospitality industry across Asia, the Americas, MEA and Europe, before the regional winners go head-to-head at AHEAD Global to establish an ultimate winner in each category.
After receiving over 100 regional entries spanning 13 countries, AHEAD’s regional judging panel of leading hoteliers, architects, interior designers and industry commentators narrowed-down their winners in 17 categories.
Following two years of virtual ceremonies, AHEAD Asia 2022 kicked-off the series’ return to live events with a long-awaited industry reunion at Andaz Singapore.
Leading names from the APAC region’s hospitality industry came together to celebrate this year’s finalists and unveil the winners. Over the course of the ceremony, some of the region’s most compelling hospitality projects were showcased, demonstrating an array of original design concepts debuted over the past year.
Shangri-La Shougang Park designed by Lissoni & Partners was the big winner of the night, taking home three awards including the coveted Hotel of the Year award. The panel praised the design of the conversion for its “sophisticated engagement with existing fabric of the building”, describing the project as “a real triumph”.
Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape in the heart of the Balinese jungle, took home the award for Landscaping & Outdoor Spaces, whilst FDAT Architects’ biophilic redesign of Singapore’s Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay won in Hotel Renovation & Restoration.
Across the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives won best Resort for its idyllic overwater escape, whilst neighbouring Joali Being took home the award for Spa & Wellness.
Elsewhere, the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong triumphed in the F&B categories, winning both best Restaurant and best Bar, Club or Lounge.
The ceremony featured its returning Special Awards: newly-emerging creative village Desa Potato Head was named best New Concept whilst Jean-Michel Gathy was recognised for his Outstanding Contribution to the hospitality design industry, revolutionising the sector for nearly 40 years with his Hong Kong-based firm, Denniston.
What's more, the ceremony saw the debut of a new Sustainability category for which RAAS Chhatrasagar was awarded for their ecological conservation efforts, rewilding the once agricultural landscape of the rural camp and protecting the natural wildlife that now occupies it.
See the full list of winners below:
BAR, CLUB OR LOUNGE
The Aubrey – Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, China
Perched atop the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, The Aubrey offers guests an eccentric Japanese izakaya experience filled with “nuanced touches of storytelling”. Designed by Silverfox Studios, the space is adorned with dark wood panelling and lavish velvet upholstery, paired with an eclectic mix of Tiffany lamps, Victorian ferns and Japonisme prints as a nod to the bar’s muse Aubrey Beardsley, creating what judges called “a wonderful ode to east and west”.
W Osaka, Japan
Conceptualised by Amsterdam-based firm Concrete, W Osaka’s interiors celebrate the true spirit of the city: from the bright fuchsia arrival tunnel reminiscent of the cherry blossoms of Midōsuji Boulevard to the bold lighting features in the pre-function room that nod to the neon signs of Dotonbori. The event spaces continue this celebration, designed using the 2:1 ratio of tatami mats, and featuring a framework of oak craftsmanship decorated with rich shades of gold to reflect the autumn foliage of ginkgo trees.
Roku Kyoto, Japan
For Hilton’s first LXR resort in the Asia Pacific, Blink Design Group’s concept is “steeped in the culture of Kyoto but presented with a beautifully restrained hand”, described by one judge as “fresh and contemporary whilst still honouring tradition”. The framing windows draw focus to the lush mountain landscape and flood natural light upon the series of lacquerware and wooden craftsmanship incorporated to create a rich cultural backdrop.
Shangri-La Shougang Park, Beijing, China
Lissoni & Partners’ integrated design concept for this heritage industrial estate on the outskirts of Beijing sees the skeleton of a former steel factory enveloped in a sleek glass façade. The building comprises a series of interconnected structures linked by an elevated bridge, with both light and temperature controlled by a large overhead canopy in the main building. The panel praised the conversion for its “sophisticated engagement with existing fabric of the building”, describing the project as “a real triumph elevated by the use of sumptuous materiality, and restrained lux”. HOTEL CONVERSION
The Standard Bangkok Mahanakhon, Thailand
Set across 18 floors of Thailand’s tallest skyscraper, the iconic King Power Mahanakhon, the panel praised The Standard Bangkok’s “harmony and cohesion, underpinning a dynamic, effusive and clever series of spaces that work beautifully together under one roof”. Whilst the building was designed by German architect Ole Scheeren, the hotel’s interiors, conceptualised by Hayon Studio, were described by one judge as “just as memorable and eye-catching as the building itself - timeless and contemporary”.
HOTEL RENOVATION & RESTORATION
Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay, Singapore
In the heart of the self-proclaimed ‘garden city’, FDAT Architects reimagined the Marina Mandarin Singapore as a Parkroyal Collection with a biophilic design concept. From the lush skybridge to the 13-metre high living wall behind the concierge desk, the hotel is home to over 2,400 plants, plus six live-in songbirds. The grand atrium, originally designed by John Portman in the 1980s, now has “a new layer of softness” described by the panel as “a real transformation”.
LANDSCAPING & OUTDOOR SPACES
Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape, Bali, Indonesia
Nestled deep within the Balinese jungle, Buahan’s indoor-outdoor design goes without walls and uses traditional local craftsmanship to create a “truly immersive” experience rooted in a strong sense of place. From the pool deck to the open kitchen, the resort enjoys panoramic views of the Ayung River and the surrounding seven peaks, bringing guests into nature. “A sophisticated and layered sensory approach,” commented one judge, “respectful to the existing landscape with sensitively integrated introductions.”
LOBBY & PUBLIC SPACES
Shangri-La Shougang Park, Beijing, China
The hotel’s main building is arranged over two floors, taking advantage of its industrial 20m height. Located on the first floor, the lobby lounge is cocooned within a bespoke wooden ‘nest’ featuring a delicate installation of mesh wire birds, representing the building’s transformative spirit like the birds that migrate to the Yongding River each season. Juxtaposed by a striking red steel staircase and exposed ventilation pipes overhead, the panel noted the spaces’ “depth and substance” describing them as “bold yet well balanced”.
LODGES, CABINS & TENTED CAMPS
RAAS Chhatrasagar, Rajasthan, Indi
Once a historic camp hosting safari campaigns of visiting dignitaries in the late nineteenth century, RAAS Chhatrasagar is a rural retreat away from the bustling cities of India. Perched atop a 130-year-old dam, the boutique camp offers a series of luxury tents adorned with hand-embroidered illustrations of the local flora and fauna, plus an on-site spa offering Ayurvedic treatments and a heated swimming pool overlooking the reservoir. Judges praised this “sensitive modernisation” and commended “the narrative and bravery of creating such an experience above a century-old dam”.
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, Maldives
“An audacious undertaking”, this idyllic overwater escape in the North Malé Atoll was the last project of the late architect Kerry Hill. Mirroring the sweeping stretches of its surrounding islands, the resort’s design features a spherical series of interconnected villas hovering over the turquoise lagoon, representing the cyclical flow of island life and encouraging guests to relax into tranquillity of the landscape.
Man Wah - Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, China
Following a redesign by Silverfox Studios, Michelin-starred Man Wah reopened its doors on the 25th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. The design concept draws upon the surrounding urban skyline, using deep blue lacquered panels to “foreground the incredible views” and divide the space, creating dining alcoves illuminated by decorative hanging lanterns. Grid patterning on table lamps mimics the windowscapes of skyscrapers, whilst the blue and gold handwoven carpet references the glistening harbour below, creating “a plush, premium and deeply sophisticated environment”.
SPA & WELLNESS
Joali Being, Bodufushi Island, Maldives
Set amongst the untouched forests of Bodufushi Island, Joali Being is the Maldives’ first sustainable wellbeing retreat. Biophilic design principles were followed for minimal disruption to the landscape, creating a series of nature-immersive spaces designed to reconnect guests with themselves and the environment. The resort’s tailored wellness programmes centre around four pillars - mind, skin, microbiome and energy - with personalised treatments fusing alternative healing with modern methods for a truly transformative experience.
Presidential Suite - Hilton Singapore Orchard, Singapore
The hotel’s new design establishes a contrasting identity to the building’s former modern classical look, instead considering a more sensory experience. Paying homage to the Orchard Road’s agricultural heritage, gently curved architectural lines are layered with refined natural elements and a muted palette, combining dark wood textures with sage accents to create a grounded base of tranquillity filled away from the buzzing street below. “A simple and refined retreat”.
Carlyle & Co. - Rosewood Hong Kong, China
Inspired by the glamour of Manhattan's most iconic hotel, Carlyle & Co. is a new breed of private members club perched atop the Rosewood Hong Kong. To capture the essence of its namesake, the branding began with a hand-written font - personal yet sophisticated - from which a logo was created, paying homage to the cocktail lamps of Café Carlyle. Within the logo, two hidden faces symbolise the spirit of both community and privacy, whilst a series of animal motifs represent the club’s various spaces.
RAAS Chhatrasagar, Rajasthan, India
AHEAD’s first Sustainability award went to RAAS Chhatrasagar for their ethos of ecological conservation, continually rewilding the once agricultural landscape of the rural camp and protecting the natural wildlife that occupies it. From conception, the project’s solar powered tents were constructed using local materials and equipped with LEED-certified air-conditioning, while rainwater harvesting was invested in throughout the site and use of all plastics was eliminated. What’s more, RAAS ensures its workforce is largely local, investing back into the community and its economy.
Desa Potato Head, Seminyak, Bali
The newly emerging creative village at the iconic beach club hotel was chosen for its combination of cutting edge sustainable solutions, innovative wellness programming and tropical Brutalist architecture by OMA. On-site recycling sees scrap waste used to create everything from construction materials to in-room amenities, art installations and bespoke furniture. Elsewhere, wellness offerings range from traditional sound healings to space-age light and aural immersions created with Pyramid of Chi. As this new kind of resort evolves, these are just a few examples of its creative innovations that earned it the title of best New Concept.
HOTEL OF THE YEAR
Shangri-La Shougang Park, Beijing, China
From the lobby’s delicate installation of mesh wire birds representing the building’s transformative spirit to the striking red steel staircase and exposed industrial elements, Lissoni & Partners’ design showed great “depth and substance”, described by the judges as “bold yet well balanced”. The panel praised the conversion for its “sophisticated engagement with existing fabric of the building”, and were in agreement that the result was “a real triumph”.
Recognised for his Outstanding Contribution to the hospitality industry, Jean-Michel Gathy has been revolutionising the industry for the last 40 years with his Kuala Lumpur-based multidisciplinary firm, Denniston. Offering comprehensive design services, Denniston’s vast back-catalogue reads like a who’s who of the luxury hospitality sector, conceptualising hotels and resorts for the likes of Banyan Tree, Mandarin Oriental and One&Only, with the recently opened Aman New York joining their portfolio this year.