The Drake Hotel’s rural outpost in Prince Edward County, Ont. has garnered accolades for its modern cottage-chic design. +Tongtong principle John Tong — who designed the original Drake on Toronto’s Queen Street West — notes that it was a unique challenge to bring The Drake Devonshire Inn to life. “The challenge for me was how to take the brand ideas and figure out how to transplant that into a second property in very a different location.”

The resulting design is one that is very individual within the Drake family, while still exuding a very “Drake” essence. As Tong explains, no one element — be it a colour palette, material, furniture or artwork — save for the bar stools is repeated at this second Drake property. On creating this brand cohesion, Tong says: “I think it has to do with a sense of colour and freshness and uniqueness…I think the sensibility of the choices and the strategy of how the place flows, the intimacy and warmth [while being] modern yet old are all there.”

The character of the boutique hotel’s rural location is a defining feature of the project’s overall design. Despite 75 per cent of the structure being newly built, the additions were made to appear as though the existing heritage house had undergone a series of additions over time.  —  By Danielle Schalk


In 2014, the 185-room boutique-style Hotel Arts partnered with Toronto-based design firm Chil Interior Design on a $7-million renovation of its guestrooms and corridors. The existing design, says Adele Rankin, senior associate Chil Interior Design, proved a bit anticlimactic for guests who were initially wowed by the hotels artistically stunning common spaces.

“It’s a very art-focused property and [the client] had a desire to bring the rooms up to speed with the rest of the hotel area,” says Rankin. “The rooms and corridors were dark, very plain and, ironically, lacking in art.”

The conundrum, she says, was living up to the hotel’s name, but without the budget to put original art in every room as they had in the common areas. “We had to make the rooms speak to the rest of the spaces and be fashion-forward in some respects. We made it an artful experience — instead of one item in the room saying ‘art’ we wanted these rooms and corridors to speak to an artful immersion,” she says, adding every floor has its number painted the on the wall and floor. But while the design of the graphic element is different on each floor, the colour scheme is consistent.

For the guestrooms, the Chil team chose a classic base palette — charcoals, creams, whites and blacks — which would never go out of style. “We used pops of citrusy green and bright oranges to brighten it up,” says Rankin. “If it gets tiring for [the client], it can be changed affordably — being too trendy gets clients in a bind.” The furniture was designed specifically for the hotel, including the centerpiece of each guestroom, a custom headboard. “The headboard was a way to affordably do something that made a statement. The Robert Allen fabric became a backdrop for the room, while being a statement unto itself.” — By Amy Bostock


Set to open in September 2017, the Marriott Parq Vancouver is a luxury hotel in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Set against a backdrop of coastal mountains on Canada’s Pacific coast, the hotel, designed by Toronto-based Studio Munge, features a collection of 329 guestrooms; including 44 suites, three presidential suites and a two-floor villa. The public spaces include a spa, state-of-the art fitness studio, private club lounge and six restaurants and lounges.

“The developer wanted the project to have a resort feel to it,” says Alessandro Munge, principal at Studio Munge. “It’s tied to a casino development and another Marriott hotel brand so it’s really a destination — an all-in-one venue for those travelling to Vancouver, as well as locals. It’s more than just a hotel experience; it’s an amenity experience.”

Munge is no stranger to the Vancouver hotel scene, having worked on projects in the city — including Rosewood’s Hotel Georgia — over the last 10 years. “I saw a city that is spectacular. The vistas are beautiful but it can be a bit dark and dreary at times,” he says. “However, when it’s sunny, the entire city explodes.” With that in mind, Munge says he created a palette full of light, fresh and all-season colours. “I wanted people to come into a room that felt alive, open and fresh — even a little feminine.”

The majority of the guestroom furniture was custom designed by the team at Studio Munge — beds, headboards, nightstands and desks — and boasts an international flare “but local in the sense you know where you are.” Elements within the art program are 100-per-cent local, ensuring the city’s talent is showcased in the project. “The public spaces are the natural areas to draw attention to, but we didn’t want the rooms to feel like they were an afterthought,” says Munge. — By Amy Bostock


When Delta Hotels and Resorts was looking to expand its business traveller demographic and grow its leisure market share, it looked to Toronto-based HOK to provide the appropriate design, branding and engineering work needed to create a consistent experience across all 45 of its Canadian properties.

HOK’s design for Delta was inspired by Canadian pride and a desire to build a strong tie between each property and the setting in which it’s situated. This philosophy ultimately guided the firm’s design team, led by Randa Tukan in its design concept and approach as well as choice of materials, furniture and manufacturers.

The Delta Hotels Ottawa City Centre renovation took two years and cost approximately $35 million. With the Canadian theme as the overall inspiration, Tukan’s team took cues from Ottawa’s history, diversity and urban setting. The firm did a major re-design of the property in order to improve guest and visitor flow, attract more meetings and conventions and create a stronger connection to the surrounding neighborhood. The redesign called for the removal of the hotel’s drop-off ramp at the second floor and relocating the front desk and reception to the first floor to establish a street-level presence.

The bar lounge area references the Parliament library with the all-white painted books and pockets of tongue-in-cheek Canadiana accessories. The application is modern, smart, fun and clean-lined with an understated elegance. This new design has resulted in a 48 per cent increase in business for the hotel since the completion of the renovation. It has also opened doors to the entertainment and film industry in Ottawa and has become a background setting for film and commercial productions. — By Eric Alister 


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