Paying homage to its 75-year history, we examine how the design of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has captured the appeal of international travel for luxury guests today and over the years. Since its inception, the brand has evolved its architecture and design to stay ahead of the changing needs and tastes of its customers.InterContinental hotels are shining examples of some of the best sites of contemporary architecture or cultural heritage, from historic buildings to city landmarks and immersive resorts – and always in the most desirable locations.
Historic buildings that are architecturally significant to the local environment or national history are often a destination in themselves. InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu is located in a former hospital building on the banks of the Rhône. Dating back to the Renaissance, it is one of the city’s most iconic historic buildings. At the time of its construction, many were surprised by the juxtaposition of the palatial architecture of the building and its function of medical care for the workers of Lyon. Responsible for the transformation of the building design was Studio Jean-Philippe Nuel, with the architects AIA Architects and RL&A.
“My approach with this project to draw on the history of the place; not in a superficial way by trying to reproduce or copy elements of decoration, but rather by perpetuating the spirit which guided its construction in the 18th century ”, said Nuel. “The dichotomy of its past is reflected inside, with a very richly decorated dome, while other aspects have a monastic air. When I rethought the place, I wanted to maintain this game of contrasts without ever falling into ostentatious luxury, which would have been out of place in relation to the history of Lyon.
InterContinental’s approach to new properties is to develop iconic architecture combining global standards consistent with the distinct culture of each location. The hotel’s location and its local history provide a rich source of design inspiration, combined with the ability to design a space with a sophisticated guest experience in mind. Designed by famous eco-architect Bill Bensley, InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort is influenced by neighboring temples. The rooms feature handcrafted touches, including carved merawan wood panels, richly embroidered silks, and bespoke ceramic tiles.
“For the design, I took inspiration from all the best parts of Vietnamese vernacular architecture, combined with wilder elements, like an aristocratic monkey designed bar, a banana yellow cinema and what many travel magazines have. written as the most exciting toilet in the world! “ said Bensley. “The result is a whimsical kingdom spread over four levels – Sky, Sky, Earth and Sea – enjoying incredible views from the top of the mountain and the pristine beach.”
Bill Bensley is also working on Khao Yai Intercontinental National Park, a 61-key property that will occupy a 100-acre site surrounded by 50,000 trees and offering views of seven lakes. The hotel is about a three-hour drive from Bangkok and is slated to open in late 2021.
InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland was the brand’s 200th hotel, opened in 2018. It’s built into the side wall of a former abandoned quarry in southwest Shanghai, but the location isn’t the only unique thing about this hotel . The structure spans two floors underground, with an underwater restaurant and rooms facing an aquarium. A swimming pool and water sports facilities can be found on the quarry floor, and the guest rooms go up 14 stories to the side of the quarry face. the hotel’s upper floors connect with a glass-bottom walkway, which leads to a cantilevered sports center for bungee jumping and rock climbing. Architect Martin Jochman wanted the exterior of the hotel to reflect the surrounding landscape; a glass atrium runs the full height of the building, reflecting the waterfall that flows from the opposite side of the quarry. The designers Cheng Chung Design also drew inspiration from topography to come up with the concept of “Adventure in the Center of the Earth”. Highlights include a large lobby with curved, ridged walls and a circular rain shower-type waterfall onto which LED lighting effects are projected; all contribute to the amazement of the hotel.
At the start of the brand, there was one person largely responsible for the look and feel of InterContinental hotels. From 1961 to 1986, Neal Prince was vice president of personnel in the interior design division for the Intercontinental Hotels Corporation. He has led the design and opening of approximately 154 hotels around the world. Prince was famous for creating the “to see” of the InterContinental at the time, while also working with local materials, artists and craftsmen to refine the atmosphere in line with the destination, always with creativity, ambition and luxury as a common thread. His work earned him worldwide fame and influence and became a point of reference for industry professionals even long after his retirement. Its first design was for the Phenicia InterContinental Hotel (now InterContinental Phenicia Beirut) in Beirut Lebanon, including its original and iconic oval swimming pool with a bar below, where floor-to-ceiling windows offered views of the pool. His final work is still a favorite with InterContinental guests – The Willard in Washington DC, which reopened as an InterContinental in 1986.
The spirit of combining the InterContinental philosophy, the vision of the architect and designer and the inspiration by the location continues today.
Jean-Philippe Nuel comments, “InterContinental’s philosophy of location-centric, culturally local and also open to the world is very close to my personal vision of the hospitality industry, and I think that’s why it’s been so well received. by customers and the design world. “
When it launched in 2019, the InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu received the prestigious global Gold Key Award for excellence in hotel design.
Behind the pioneering spirit, elegance has always been at the heart of design choices, ensuring that layers of discovery and comfort reveal an unmatched level of sophistication. Hotel-to-hotel familiarity is evoked through thoughtful design choices and respect for the destination’s craftsmanship and culture. Intercontinental hotels have been providing understated luxury for 75 years and this is where luxury is a state of mind.
About IHG Hotels & Resorts
IHG Hotels & Resorts is a global organization with a broad portfolio of hotel brands including Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, Regent Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants, Hotel Indigo®, SAME Hotels ®, HULUXE® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, voco ™, Holiday Inn® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Holiday Inn Club Vacations®, avid ™ hotels, Staybridge Suites®, Atwell Suites™ and Candlewood Suites®.
IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns nearly 5,800 hotels and approximately 865,000 rooms in more than 100 countries, with more than 1,900 hotels in its development pipeline. IHG also manages IHG® Rewards Club, our global loyalty program with over 100 million registered members.
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the group’s holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales. More than 400,000 people work in IHG hotels and offices around the world.
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