WAN unveils the best hotels of the year

Wednesday 15 Jun 2011

Hotel of the Year shortlist applauded for ‘moving the typology forwards’

You know one of the WAN judges is impressed when they begin to visualise themselves in one of the buildings on the longlist, and this is exactly what happened this week at the Hotel of the Year jury meeting. Barry Hughes, Vice President at HOK was clearly enraptured by Pir II AS’s SUBhouses – Stokkøya, an imaginative scheme in Åfjord, Norway, stating: “I think this is really compelling...you haven’t seen anything like this before and it looks like a place I’d like to try.”

The excitement was palpable as our celebrated guests worked their way through WAN’s first ever Hotel of the Year Award entries, with exclamations of ‘Wow!’ and ‘absolutely gorgeous’ filling the room. On many occasions, the panel voiced their admiration for the architects’ approach to either a complex site or an innovative use of internal space, eager to recognise projects that were ‘moving the typology forwards’.

In an unconscious demonstration of their industry know-how, several of our judges admitted already having begun relationships with one of our shortlisted projects, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences and J.W. Marriott at L.A. LIVE. While WATG’s Senior Vice President Jeremy Heyes explained that he’d noticed the building in its early stages of construction, Barry Hughes confessed: “I am ashamed to admit that I visited this building but didn’t have time to go inside, so I photographed it heavily from the outside because it is a compelling object on the skyline.”

Many of the shortlisted entries were applauded for their visionary aesthetics and their designers commended for their bravery, Asymptote Architecture in particular drawing statements of surprise and delight. On introduction to the firm’s Yas Hotel project in Abu Dhabi, Jeremy Heyes exclaimed: “Out of all the hotels in the world in the last two years it’s iconic, it’s out there, and it’s stunning. It could have been a really dull box underneath it, but it’s not. It’s well stylised, I like it.” Juliet Kinsman, Editor in Chief of Mr and Mrs Smith Hotels was also quick to point out her innate attraction to Ennead Architects’s masterpiece The Standard, admitting: “I feel magnetically drawn towards this building.”

The long-awaited shortlist is as follows:

SUBhouses - Stokkøya, Åfjord, Norway – Pir II AS
Saffire, Tasmania, Australia – Circa Architecture
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences and J.W. Marriott at L.A. LIVE, Los Angeles, United States - Gensler
The Yas Hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE – Asymptote Architecture
The Standard, New York, United States – Ennead Architects LLP
Grace Santorini Hotel, Imerovigli, Greece – Divercity & Mplusm

Key Facts:

Commercial Hotels

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