Big-brand flags in this sector are borrowing a page from their boutique brethren to up their design ante.
By Matthew Hall
Greenleaf says the modifications contained within the Magnolia prototype were born out of feedback that the hotelier’s in-house team, DiStudio and FRCH gathered over an 18-month period from developers, owners, hotel staffs and guests. In addition to offering a refreshed, more flexible interior environment, Hilton officials say that process resulted in two major benefits for owners/developers utilizing the Magnolia concept: a building footprint that’s 8 percent smaller than its predecessor, and a corresponding 6 percent reduction in construction costs.
John Greenleaf, Hilton Garden Inn. Photo: Courtesy of Hilton
Greenleaf says the prototype’s smaller footprint was achieved “primarily by removing the cupola and pushing the Pavilion under the room tower. The result is a design that makes it easier for hotel owners to acquire land and building sites for HGI locales.”
Those factors, in turn, mean the Magnolia look should blossom into a stronger return on investment for owners, Greenleaf notes.
Hotel Indigo Denver Downtown
Mark Zeff, founder of interdisciplinary architecture/design firm MARKZEFF, has created several hotels for Hilton’s fast-growing Canopy brand in recent years, and expected to do another in the Union Tower West mixed-use development in Denver’s Lo-Do district. But when plans changed and the Canopy was replaced with a Hotel Indigo, Zeff says he was delighted by building architect John Portman & Associates’ invitation to stay on board to design what would be his firm’s first-ever project for that IHG brand.
References to the Rocky Mountain region's gold-mining past are interwoven throughout the Hotel Indigo Denver Downtown, including a set of graphics on opposing walls in the check-in area. Photo: Victor Moss
The resulting 180-key hotel bears Zeff’s signature exuberant style. That’s perhaps best illustrated by both the high-ceilinged vestibule that serves as the entry for the property’s Hearth & Dram restaurant, and that dining environment itself. “The vestibule is a huge circular space that’s clad in wood and has the look of walking through an oversized wine barrel,” he explains. “This sets the stage for letting guests know that the restaurant is not going to be your typical dining environment.”
Serving as the vestibule’s centerpiece is a conversation-starting sculpture titled “Wildwood Cronesong: Survival,” by local artist Norman Epp, which juxtaposes a black-cherry tree trunk with steel elements. “The piece speaks to the surrounding Colorado Rockies, while still harmonizing with the hotel’s clean and contemporary design,” says Zeff.
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