Originally an American motel chain, Holiday Inn is now one of the world’s largest multinational hotel chains accommodating over 100m guests a year. The giant operator, now part of the InterContinental Hotels Group, has recently launched a new 180-room branch in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The chain, which was first established in the 1950s in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, has decided to revive its interior design concept, allowing a bit more of a contemporary edge to fuse with its corporate identity.
Julia Dempster, managing director, Interior Motives – the Dubai-based design firm behind the recent Holiday Inn – explains that while she was able to be more creative with this project, one of the main requirements for the design was that it included the bright green associated with the Holiday Inn franchise.
She says: “The operator had a very particular colour palette for this project, which included fresh greens.
Holiday Inn was quite specific that we use that, so we applied those colours in the guest room and in the public areas. And the whole new colour palette that’s come through is very fresh, and it includes yellows, greens, teal and a bit of turquoise—but not too blue so it doesn’t go toward Holiday Inn Express.”
Dempster also notes that a lot of neutral tones were used to create a background setting for the bright pops of hue including taupe and beige.
While the design team wasn’t so keen on the bright green colour due to personal preferences, it opted to limit the use of the colour rather than apply it heavily throughout.
Dempster explains: “We limited the green and used it only as splashes rather than as massive amounts. Because in a lot of the hotel’s signage, they use this green so it is [prevalent]. But we integrated a neutral background with a lot of taupe.”
The new Holiday Inn is eye-catching even before guests arrive. According to Dempster, you can see through the front windows quite well as you drive past the building on the way to the airport. Due to the large glass panels that line the reception area and the strong lighting scheme, the hotel is inviting and warm to guests and visitors alike.
Dempster says: “You actually see it from the road as you’re driving by, because it’s quite well-illuminated. It’s got a lot of glass, so when you drive past it you can actually see into it. Because it’s double height on the ground floor, we’ve used a lot of illuminating features on the back and what’s what you see when you’re outside.
“We drove past it once and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s our hotel!’ because I hadn’t seen it before but it’s actually quite noticeable. You’ve got all the glass that wraps around and then the back wall of the lobby area is all timber features with illuminated niches behind the reception. And we made the reception desk quite organically shaped from sophisticated Carrera marble.”
Upon entering the hotel, guests are immediately welcomed by the natural and organic shapes that give form to the reception desk, lighting schemes and furniture. The reception desk is a voluminous marble piece that draws one’s attention to the various lighting designs throughout the welcoming area.
Just behind the desk is a taupe wall that features four hexagonal shapes that appear to have formed randomly, while further on the right is a walnut timber feature wall that boasts lit-up hexagonal depths positioned at different heights along the wall. Further in front of the reception desk are two suspended lighting features.
One continues the hexagonal-like shapes found on the walls, while the other lighting feature evokes hanging knitted globes. The organic and flexible shape common in the lighting pieces is incorporated throughout the hotel’s design and can be found on the many textiles used throughout the interior.
Dempster explains: “Because of the double height, we wanted lights that came in at different levels so it at least gave some scale to the reception and when you walk in you’ve got the reception as well as the all-day dining area on your left. We used hexagonal brass lights, which also the shapes of the illuminated niches were hexagonal as well, so it was quite organic shapes used throughout.
“The light features hanging in the reception area go into the all-day dining and the reception desk is this organic shape so it was all sort of random shapes, which went into the patterns on the fabric and that went through to the corridors where the shapes were a bit more circular.
Though, we did a different scale of the shapes in the corridors and the guest rooms. In the guest rooms, you had a very taupe background with these random space-like shapes in different colours.”
While most of the hotel follows the natural colour palette of taupe, beige, and natural greens and yellows, the hotel’s gym area is quite sleek and contemporary with a monochrome colour palette and bold accent tones of purple and blue.
The hexagonal forms continue and shape an un-levelled ceiling which evokes the shape of a mountain top. The geometric pattern also continues on a wall-column that separates the two spaces within the gym.
According to Dempster, the design team faced a number of challenges including the “taste of the operator. They were asking us to put in carpets and we put them in the visual and then they didn’t like them. So the varying tastes were quite difficult.
“Also, clients now are getting more demanding and more involved, but this client for the Holiday Inn wasn’t so involved, which is great and how it should be because if people had less of a say, you would actually have the project turn out how you wanted.”
Art pieces found throughout the hotel were supplied by UK-based studio Quintessa. Dempster explains: “We sent them the fabrics and sizes and they came up with proposals but it was all quite graphic. It was mainly contemporary acrylic on canvas but very graphic. Think more colour block with shapes—it was contemporary, modern art.”
Fast facts about Jeddah’s new Holiday Inn: – The hotel boasts 180 guest rooms. – It was designed by Dubai-based Interior Motives. – The client was Al Hokair Group, a leading company in entertainment and hospitality in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. – Main colours used were fresh greens, citrus yellows and neutrals like beige and taupe. – Main materials found throughout consisted of walnut timber and Carrera marble, while organic, hexagonal-like shapes were incorporated into the design. – The fit-out contractor was ISG.