Grand Palace Hotel Riga Latvia

Grand Palace Hotel room

Grand Palace Hotel room by Interior Designer, Andrew Martin

Originally built in 1877 as the Central Bank of Latvia, the building was uniquely turned into a boutique 5-star hotel in 2000. Now called the Grand Palace Hotel, it is an exquisite and well reviewed property in Riga, Latvia. The rooms are all exclusively designed and furnished by Andrew Martin.

“The dominant colour is grey and it symbolizes presence of inconspicuous elegance, combined with shades of pink, creating sophisticated and at the same time a positive atmosphere.” ~Andrew Martin

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The Peninsula Hotel Paris

Peninsula hotel Paris logo

Leave it to the French to remind us all of the quality and heritage in craftsmanship. Hotels have the ability to be just as much about beauty and art as they are about being a business.

As you might already know, The Peninsula Hotels made its grand entrance into Europe with The Peninsula Paris in August this year, setting spectacular new standards in design, luxury and comfort. The century-old classic building has been meticulously restored and modernized to create the latest example of Peninsula excellence.

Statistics:

  • Type: Luxury Hotel Renovation
  • Originally constructed: 1908
  • Re-opened: August 2014 after 4 years of restoration work
  • Keys: 200
  • Size: 33,000m2
  • Rating: 5 star
  • Room rate: begins at $1,450US per night
  • Architect: Richard Martinet of Affine Architecture + Interior Design
  • Interior Designer: Henry Leung of Hong Kong-based Chhada Siembieda & Associates Ltd
  • Owner: Qatari Diar
  • Operator: Peninsula Hotels
  • Contractor:  Vinci Construction
  • Construction cost: EUR338 million

 

Montmartre Terrace View

Montmartre Terrace View

Exquisitely restored spaces will be complemented by contemporary art installations, furnishings and technology. Dazzling rooftop spaces and private terrace gardens offer 360° views and glamorous extras that will make The Peninsula Paris a decidedly 21st century palace.

Lion at the Peninsula Hotel main entrance

Lion at the Peninsula Hotel main entrance

As with all Peninsula Hotels, location is of prime importance and Paris is no exception. Just steps away from the Arc de Triomphe and Avenue des Champs Elysées at 19 Avenue Kléber in the heart of the elegant 16th arrondissement, The Peninsula sits close to some of the world’s most famous monuments, museums and luxury shopping districts.

Dancing Leaves chandelier by Czech chandelier manufacturer Lasvit is installed in the hotels main lobby.

Dancing Leaves chandelier by Czech chandelier manufacturer Lasvit is installed in the hotels main lobby.

Lasvit art chandelier detail.

Lasvit art chandelier detail.

Juliet Balcony, Peninsula Hotel detailing.

Juliet Balcony, Peninsula Hotel detailing.

As the video shows, the heritage restoration work was done with precision and care making for a truly remarkable and refreshed interior.

Stained Glass window detail.

Stained Glass window detail.

Restaurant ceiling detail.

Restaurant ceiling detail.

Restaurant ceiling detail.

Restaurant ceiling detail.

The hotel was renovated/re-designed with the experience and guidance of french firm Affine Architecture and Interior Design firm CSA from Hong Kong. The Affine states quite eloquently of the role of a hotel and basis for its design:

“Hotels are places to be experiences rather than inhabited. Take your time and you may gradually perceive the whispers of anecdotes, stories and legends that once gave them life, from antechambers to vestibules, through galleries and corridors. Those are scenic spaces, for a moment, a fragment of life, a glimpse of dream. This is that human theatricality, with its imaginary part, this subtle blend of existence and fiction, which is out material… a material we transform with respect and passion to host other scenes, other lives.”

The Hotel Guestrooms have a few distinctive details that embrace the evolution of hotel design and technology.

Grand premier room

Grand premier room

Headboard detail - cut leather

Headboard detail – cut leather

Superior Suite Bedroom

Superior Suite Bedroom

Room amenities

Room amenities

Delux Suite dressing room

Delux Suite dressing room

Grand Premier dressing room

Grand Premier dressing room

Premier suite dressing room

Premier suite dressing room

Premier Suite Bathroom

Premier Suite Bathroom

My favorite addition, a small 2 sided closet called a ‘valet box’ for room service:

Unique room feature - a Valet Box accessible for staff without needing to enter the room/suite.

Unique room feature – a Valet Box accessible for staff without needing to enter the room/suite.

Here is a collection of some of the room layouts:

I am in awe of this hotels attention to details and immaculate beauty. Have you been? What were your favorite features?

To see more original design, craftsmanship and beauty locally, be sure to check out Downtown Design in Dubai at the end of this month.

Stay Original!

~Laura of Arabia~

An Interview with: Katharine Pooley

Katharine Pooley Interior Design and Decor Doha
Inspired by her recent travels around South-East Asia, Katharine Pooley has curated an exclusive collection of new products. Every piece has been hand-picked by Katharine, each synonymous with her classical contemporary style.
 
Katharine, opened her first boutique in the Middle East last year, at the prestigious Gate Mall in Doha, Qatar. I had an exclusive interview with the designer to learn more about her draw to the middle east and where she draws her inspiration.
Katharine Pooley Doha Qatar Boutique

Katharine Pooley Doha Qatar Boutique

Katharine Pooley, Doha Qatar Showroom interior

Katharine Pooley, Doha Qatar Showroom interior

LB: Tell me briefly about yourself and your company.

KP: I am a British interior designer creating and offering full Interior Design service. I am an intrepid traveler and have visited more than 250 countries. However, what may come as surprising is the fact I have summited many of the world’s highest mountains, driven a team of dogs on a sled to the North Pole and crossed the Sahara on horseback, so one begins to form a picture of a truly original and adventurous interior designer.

I have lived and worked in Bahrain, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam, returning to England after more than two decades abroad to pursue my passion for interior design. I established my design office and boutique in Knightsbridge and a prestigious concession in Harrods.

Few of my recent London assignments include properties in many of London’s most prestigious addresses, the interiors for the Royal and VIP Lounges at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, a large apartment in the heart of Singapore, a chalet in Verbier and palaces in Kuwait and Qatar.

Katharine Pooley designed Bathroom

Katharine Pooley designed Bathroom

LB: What was your first experience with design?

KP: I started in property development. When I left Asia we bought four houses in four different continents and did them up all within the same year – it was exhausting but terrific fun.  After this I moved to London where I decided to open a shop selling beautiful accessories from around the world.  Within two years I had opened my Interiors side of the business. This year is my 10th anniversary and I now employ 40 staff.

Contemporary kitchen designed by Katharine Pooley

Contemporary kitchen designed by Katharine Pooley

LB: How would you describe your style?

KP: We have done many different styles of homes but I would say we are classical contemporary with unique and timeless beauty.  Our craftsmanship is outstanding and there is always a remarkable life time service.

Katharine Pooley designed Bedroom

Katharine Pooley designed Bedroom

LB: Who or what has influenced your style?

KP: My travel experience has impacted my style the most as it is the source of my inspirations. While visiting other countries and cultures I gain new ideas for new projects, especially the Asian cultures have always fascinated me and are reflected in some of my pieces of work.

Minimalist and sleek Hyde Park Living Room, designed by Katharine Pooley

Minimalist and sleek Hyde Park Living Room, designed by Katharine Pooley

LB: Do you have any specific design philosophy or mantra?

KP: I appreciate quality, exception craftsmanship and understand the element of home and comfort.

20 minute hourglass by Katharine Pooley - the perfect timekeeper for managing office tasks and hours.

20 minute hourglass by Katharine Pooley – the perfect timekeeper for managing office tasks and hours.

LB: What keeps you energized and focused?

KP: I love travelling; it has always been a passion of mine. Telluride Colorado is one of the most beautiful places I have been to – the outdoor activities are spectacular, the vast landscapes, the rolling mountains which I love to climb…it’s my special place to really reflect. Another way to keep energized is to walk my dogs or to watch a movie.

Luxury Living room, designed by Katharine Pooley

Luxury Living room, designed by Katharine Pooley

Mayfair residence bedroom, designed by Katharine Pooley

Mayfair residence bedroom, designed by Katharine Pooley

LB: What designers of past and present do you admire most?

KP: I have always admired Ralph Lauren for his quality of timeless energy for everyone’s taste.

LB: What books are currently on your bedside or coffee table?

KP: Raulph Fiennes “Cold to remind me always to have adventures”

“The Impossible Collection of Cars”

Royal Palm Shagreen Frame Set by Katharine Pooley

Royal Palm Shagreen Frame Set by Katharine Pooley

LB: Who are your typical clients?

KP: I have a variety of clients around the world – everyone has different taste that’s what makes my job so exciting.

Marble and rose gold bathroom designed by Katharine Pooley.

Marble and rose gold bathroom designed by Katharine Pooley.

LB: What is your connection to Qatar and what do you find different about design in Doha?

KP: I grew up in Bahrain but I was fortunate enough to meet my business partner Nasser Al Ansari in London and he invited me to explore Qatar.

Villa in Qatar designed by Katharine Pooley. This majlis is a mix of traditional Arabic elements with contemporary materials and taste.

Villa in Qatar designed by Katharine Pooley. This majlis is a mix of traditional Arabic elements with contemporary materials and taste.

LB: How does the design scene in Qatar compare to the UK?

KP: Qatar has a diverse taste and in some ways it is still finding its direction but that makes it quite exciting to have many different designs from the old to the new generations.

Sterling Silver Falcon by Katharine Pooley. An iconic accessory that represents the true passions of  Qatari heritage and culture. A rich history of falcon hunting in the region, loved by the Emir and his people.

Sterling Silver Falcon by Katharine Pooley. An iconic accessory that represents the true passions of Qatari heritage and culture. A rich history of falcon hunting in the region, loved by the Emir and his people.

LB: How does the cultural context influence your projects?

KP: I am inspired by everywhere I have visited but Asia is particularly important to me as I had the pleasure of living there for 16 years. I admire the exquisite craftsmanship within Oriental designs that we love to use, such as chinoiserie, wood carving and lacquer, as well as rich palettes and clean lines typical of Asian design. We are also working on a number of developments in Asia including several private homes in Singapore currently.  Each country in Asia is fascinating to work in; with their cultural differences is a learning experience I thrive on.

An Arabic coffee pot in Sterling Silver, design by Katharine Pooley.

An Arabic coffee pot in Sterling Silver, design by Katharine Pooley.

LB: What part of your work do you love the most and why?

KP: I’ve always loved interior design and my experience in banking has helped me to develop into a structured, organised, hard working person. I enjoy listening to the client first to understand what it is they want, and then to creatively implement their wishes.

LB: What are the current projects you’re working on?

KP: Right now I am working on a hotel/F3 race track in China.  Another current project is a 49,000 square foot house development in St James and additionally a house in Doha and Kuwait.

 

Thank you Katharine!

Stay Inspired.

~Laura of Arabia~

Qatar Design Awards 2015

Qatar Design Awards

The first ever Qatar Design Awards are now open for entries!

Details of the competition were announced today by the organizers of Interiors Qatar (IQ).  IQ, is a new exhibition set to take place in Doha from 2-4 February 2015. The exhibition will bring the latest and most innovative products and solutions for commercial, residential, hospitality and public sector interiors to Qatar.

The launch of the Qatar Design Awards plus the establishment of the IQ exhibition reflect the increased demand for the Interior Design industry in Qatar with many projects completed or in design/construction.  Qatar has an estimated $220bn US worth of projects in the pipeline. The new work is positively impacting the interiors and fit our market across all sectors. The Qatar interiors and fit out market has an estimated value of $0.81bn US as of April 2014 with a value expected to double to $1.61bn US by the end of the year.

The Qatar Design Awards are being launched to highlight Qatar’s interiors stars and innovators, and to draw attention to the emerging talents working in this promising industry.

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