AHEAD, the Awards for Hospitality Experience and Design, has revealed its winners from the inaugural AHEAD America awards which was held on June 28, 2017 at the Perez Art Museum in Miami. AHEAD celebrates the very best of hospitality design in all its forms and the guest experience it creates across the region.
The event was one of eight regional award ceremonies taking place globally in 2017 and 2018, celebrating the best new hotels in Asia, the Americas, the Middle East & Africa, and Europe. These regional ceremonies will culminate in a Global Biennale in 2019 which will see the regional winners compete to decide a worldwide winner in each category.
The 2017 regional winners for AHEAD Americas are below.
Outstanding Contribution: Alan Faena, Faena Group
Alan Faena, the founder and visionary behind Faena Group, specializes in the creation of one-of-a-kind holistic environments anchored in cultural experiences and socially responsible projects in North and South America which integrate residences and hotels with art and cultural spaces. In all he does, Alan remains true to the mission of creating inspiring communities through developing unprecedented neighborhoods rooted in art and culture. Alan was presented with the Outstanding Contribution award by Philip Levine, Mayor of Miami Beach.
AHEAD Americas Hotel of The Year 2017: Faena Hotel Miami Beach (Miami Beach, FL)
Winning three awards on the night, Faena Hotel Miami Beach was widely recognized as a fantastic immersive experience, “a high-keyed celebration of Miami’s rich resort history” where guests “are swept into another world.”
Highly Commended: Hotel Criol (Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico)
The Hotel Criol was highly praised for its thoughtfulness to the guest journey—the unassuming entry quickly gives way to a series of “thoughtful spaces where location and context is the foundation upon which the design is enunciated.”
Bar, Club or Lounge: The Bar at Coachman Hotel (South Lake Tahoe, CA)
The judges praised The Bar at Coachman Hotel for its authentic and approach to design with a great narrative. A judge commented, “this project isn’t trying to be something it’s not, nor replicating a theme.”
Event Spaces: Faena Forum (Miami Beach, FL)
The Faena Forum was highly praised not only for its superior design and architecture which “has a compelling point of view both when static or activated” but also how transformative the space has been as a cultural hub in Miami Beach.
Guestrooms: Arlo SoHo (Manhattan, NY)
Arlo SoHo’s fun and clever guestrooms were applauded for being “cleverly engineered experiences in tight spaces that fulfill every guests needs as opposed to filling a room with FF&E.”
Hotel Renovation & Restoration: 11 Howard (Manhattan, NY)
Judges across the board highly commended 11 Howard for its successful, holistic design exploration resulting in a landmark addition to the New York City hotel scene. The renovation is a “seamless blending of exterior to interior” where the combination of “rooms, public area, retail, and F&B are thoughtfully weave together as one story.”
Landscaping & Outdoor Spaces: Chablé Resort (Chocholá, Mexico)
The Chablé Resort left the judges wanting to “get lost and relax” in the resorts magical outdoor spaces that “dissolve boundaries between interior and exterior, connecting guests to their surroundings.”
Lobby & Public Spaces: 11 Howard (Manhattan, NY)
11 Howard’s lobby & public spaces were praised by judges for being “a series of beautiful vignettes that weave a beautiful story,” and a space that “will still be fresh and relevant for many years to come.”
Resort Hotel: Faena Hotel Miami Beach (Miami Beach, FL)
The Faena Hotel Miami Beach was distinguished entry for being a true experiential property and “establishing a new paradigm for urban resorts.” The thoughtfulness to guest experience at every level makes the journey at The Faena a “magical and theatrical resort escape from beginning to end.”
Restaurant: Le Coucou at 11 Howard (Manhattan, NY)
Le Coucou at 11 Howard was selected as the winner for not only its strong continuity with the hotel but also for standing alone as a “romantic canvas to beautiful food.”
Spa & Wellness: Tierra Santa Healing House at Faena Hotel Miami Beach (Miami Beach, FL)
The Tierra Santa Healing House was applauded by judges as having a strong point of view while remaining well integrated into the overall design of the hotel. One judge commented that “spa design clichés are discarded in favor of memorable experiences.”
Suite: Terrace Suite at 11 Howard (Manhattan, NY)
The dressing room in 11 Howard’s Terrace Suite was a stand-out feature in this category, evoking a luxurious experience for the suite guest.
Urban Hotel (Conversion): Hotel Criol (Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico)
The Hotel Criol’s conversion was applauded for its inventive development of spaces layered off the existing structure – “a rich and innovative conversion, discreetly packaged behind a historic colonial street façade.”
Urban Hotel (New Build): South Congress Hotel (Austin, TX)
South Congress Hotel’s consistent design narrative from start to finish “speaks to how context and location are authentically reflected in the guest experience.” While low-scaled and discreet, the thoughtfulness in planning and details “radiates the energy of the neighborhood.”
New Concept: Arlo Hotels NYC (Manhattan, NY)
Judges felt that Arlo Hotels NYC represent a direction of hospitality design they hope to see expanded with its “creative solutions that do not seem to make a compromise.”
Visual Identity: Brentwood Hotel (Saratoga Springs, NY)
The visual identity of Brentwood Hotel was viewed as a “wonderful balance between graphic expression and physical form,” going far beyond just menu design and key card covers with its elegant execution of bespoke branded items.
Photo Courtesy of South Congress Hotel, Austin, Texas