The latest phase of re-planning and refurbishment of the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa in Edinburgh by MKV Design involved the re-design of all the hotel’s public areas as well as the ballroom and meeting room spaces.
The reception lobby has been totally remodelled, removing the old central staircase that dominated the area and bringing natural light and volume into the space.
Maria Vafiadis, managing director of MKV Design, said: “The Sheraton Grand has diverse audiences to please. It was clear to us that we could only reconcile the requirements of different groups and enhance their experience by a major reconfiguration of all the public areas.”
The ambience of the reception lobby is now welcoming and refined with a sense of place referenced in the designs of the rugs, some of the fabrics and in selected artworks such the framed “coats” made from Edinburgh city maps that are signage for the cloakroom.
The structural columns have been clad in back-lit, textured resin so they glow like spun sugar and seating groups have been organised to allow for different guest activities.
Throughout, contrasting finishes emerge, hard and soft, glossy and matt, the pale envelope with punches of crimson red upholstery and warm walnut timber cladding. The flooring which unifies the entire ground area features three types of Scottish granite, honed, flamed and polished, laid in variously alternating strips.
At the same time, the designers have remembered that this is a reception that must cope with large numbers of arrivals; finishes are practical and durable.
The new main staircase is located in the lift lobby. It is constructed of brushed steel and glass and is set against an image of the Scottish Eilean Donan Castle superimposed onto 15 frosted glass panels with integrated lighting behind.
Another staircase, dedicated to serving the first floor function rooms, has been introduced alongside the reception entrance, eliminating any risk of over-crowding at the point of arrival.
In between the lift lobby and reception lobby, the designers have introduced Sheraton’s new business centre concept ‘Link’. This is an informal working space, in the style of a library than a conventional business centre. It is essentially part of the lobbies but is also partially separated from them by large open bookcases specially designed by MKV to help zone ‘Link’ and define a quiet area.
The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa has the largest function suite in Edinburgh and re-planning has further increased the number of break-out rooms which now flow around the reception atrium adjacent to the ballroom.
The carpet unifies this level with its large abstracted thistle design, with warm walnut cladding. Artwork in the meeting rooms includes framed quotes from Scottish literature.
The restaurant and bar areas are on the opposite side of the building from reception with a full-length glazed façade opening onto Festival Square. Named ‘One Square’, the space includes deep-toned timbers and brightly upholstered furniture. The design draws inspiration from the tradition of grand European cafés but also meets today’s lifestyle. It is a cosmopolitan space with its vividly toned wing back chairs and leather-covered poufs in the bar to the more classic seating of the dining areas. Walnut is widely used, on the floors, walls and for the furniture; the bar is of marble. Two huge clusters of multi-coloured globes hanging from ceiling coffers serve to zone the café bar whereas lighting in the restaurant is more architectural.
“The aesthetics of the public areas were to be very similar to the blueprint we had established in the guestrooms,” said Vafiadis. “The design is clean and contemporary and the detail is more in the richness of textures and how we use them. We always like to discover how to play with materials and use them in a different way.”