PREVIEW: Sleep 2014 London

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The Sleep event has become a key date in the diary for any hotelier keen to make an impact through design innovation.

We caught up with Kali Nicholson, Sleep brand director, to discover what’s new for 2014 and why boutique hoteliers should be sure to attend.

What can visitors to Sleep expect?
Sleep is the only event in Europe to focus solely on hotel design, development and architecture – there’s nothing else like it.
Visitors can expect to see the very best interior manufacturers specific to the hotel and hospitality sector across furniture, bathrooms, lighting, flooring and surfaces, fabrics, wall coverings and technology, as Sleep showcases the new products and latest innovations that are both functional and beautiful from exhibitors who include Grohe, Walker Greenback, Roca, Interface, Dare Studio, Lasvit and ABB Busch Jaeger – to name but a few.

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Be inspired by the Sleep Set and the European Hotel Design Awards winners gallery. Hear from leaders in hotel design and investment at the Sleep Conference and network at the Round Tables and the Sleep Bar. It’s not just about stunning interior products – Sleep is a place to source and knowledge share. It has everything a hotelier needs to define their brand and property and keep guests coming back.

What are the main highlights of the show?
Each element of the show is thoroughly curated for visitors. The Sleep Conference, free to attend for visitors who pre-register, is a unique opportunity to hear from some of the most influential names in the global hotel community. The Round Tables, hosted by Daniel Englender, MD of Benjamin West London, allow you to get up close and personal with senior executives in the hotel sector and pose any questions you want. This year’s VIPs will include: Ana Nekhamkin of LAMA Urban, Marc Socker of Invesco Real Estate and Eugene Staal from Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.

Then there’s Sleep Set – the competition where different design teams present their take on the hotels of tomorrow in a series of visionary room sets. Contestants this year include Dreimeta, known for the Superbude and 25hours hotels in Germany and Austria; NoChintz, very recently awarded for their work on the Natural Retreats headline project in John O’Groats; and Leicester based SKM Design, a young company looking to make a name for forward-thinking design.

Because the spaces around hotels are crucial to the guest experience, we’ve launched a new outdoor feature, Above and Beyond, curated by Scape Design Associates and furnished by KETTAL Outdoor Collections – come and discuss the issues and get inspiration and advice from the experts.

Plus there’s digitalhotel – with an installation outside the Business Design Centre demonstrating the modular concept designed using the latest in BIM technology behind the Whitbread hub brand, and a lounge inside where visitors are invited to use Google Glass and Oculus Rift for an immersive BIM experience.

What will be different to last year?
It’s really important to us to bring together a curated mix of leading brands and new companies each year, and to show different ranges of suppliers and products. New names at Sleep this November include Designheure, Jacuzzi, Gira, Orangebox, Drapilux, Glatz, Sara Newman, TOTO and Lights of Vienna.

The theme of this year’s Sleep Set competition is Simplexity – last year it was Pop Art! Every year the Sleep Bar is realised by a different design team, and this year it’s the award-winning Swedish company Stylt Trampoli.

The Above and Beyond roof terrace is new, and we’re very lucky to have it curated by Phil Jaffa from Scape Design Associates.

The Sleep Conference programme and speakers are always new – this year we’re discussing the trends for Aparthotels, peer- to- peer lodging and the new wave of designer hostels. We’re also discussing BIM technology and its application in hotel design – to complement our digitalhotel installation.

What specific sections will be relevant to boutique hotels?
Boutique hotels are all about style and individuality and that’s exactly what Sleep is about. Whether your hotel is traditional in style, eclectic or has an edgy, urban vibe, Sleep’s edited collection of the finest suppliers can provide everything you need – from a hot tub on a balcony or seamless technology through to luxurious fabrics, individual artworks, lobby furniture and stunning light displays. As a boutique hotelier, you want differentiation for discerning guests – come and find it at Sleep.

Ian Schrager, widely credited for starting the trend for boutique hotel s in the 80’s, was our guest at the Sleep Conference last year. This year, George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, interior designers of Ian Shrager’s London Edition, will be speaking.

Jeremy King, who with partner Chris Corbin has just opened The Beaumont, headlines on the first day of the Conference. It will be really interesting to hear how Jeremy’s insights from running such exceptional restaurants as the Le Caprice and The Wolseley translate to his first boutique hotel.

How can visitors get the most out of the exhibition?
Look on the website. Check the Conference programme. Plan your time. Register for your ticket online (so you avoid the £30 entry fee) and maybe set up a few meetings in advance. Tell your colleagues. Arrange to meet people in the Bar – Sleep is a great place for catching up. Get ready to have fun and to meet people who could be really helpful for your hotel and your business – other hoteliers, designers, suppliers, financiers – you never know who you’ll get to know!

What would you advice to first time visitors be?
Think about what you want to achieve before you visit the show. Is there something very specific you‘re looking for – new lighting for example? If so, the product category search on the exhibitor list will help you find suppliers. Planning a complete refurb? Again, the exhibitor list will be invaluable. Are there speakers at the Conference you’d like to hear from – and perhaps meet? Get the sessions in your diary and make sure you allow enough time for everything you want to achieve. Sleep takes place over two days, and we’re open till 8pm on Wednesday, with complimentary drinks from 6-7pm. Your badge gives you entry across both days – so you can always revisit. Your time is precious – make it work for you.

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