Winning Inspiration: Previous ‘Hospitality’ winners

These welcoming designs offer a striking space for eating, drinking and enjoying a relaxing break.

by Staff writer 18 September 2023

Find out what our judges loved about these luxurious hotels, bars and restaurants in the Hospitality category

Desert restaurant serves up sunset-hued design

Photo credit: Brandon Barré 

Project: Prime

Location: Chandler, Arizona, USA

Award: Hospitality – Restaurants and Cafes, Gold, 2022

Design practice: Preen Inc

Client: Gila River Tribe

“A contemporary retro design that exudes sophistication and luxury,” Azlan Nazam, Judge.

Prime, a steakhouse based in Arizona, is part of a casino owned by a Native American tribe – the Gila River Indian Community. Located fifteen floors above the Sonoran desert, on the top floor of a casino and resort complex just south of Phoenix, its striking interiors are inspired by the surrounding desert landscape.

They feature wide charcoal arches and a diamond shaped concrete bar. Materials are earth based, in colours which evoke the tones of sunset in the desert. The restaurant has round tables with steel edges and mirrored tops, and globe-shaped pendant lights. Low walls around the eating area are made from multi-hued rainbow limestone, while seating areas are covered in orange suede. 

It features a grand patio for lounging, dining and enjoying views over the desert. An outdoor living room features a candlelight wall, low cacti landscaping and a firepit.

Design highlights:

A stepped and inverted pyramid hovers over the main dining area. Here the walls are plastered in an earthy rose-tan, with leather and sunset hued limestone dining sofas, rose glass tables and a rust-rose coloured rug.  The bathroom features basins made from glazed lava stone with motion-activated taps which come down from the ceiling. 


Lead designer: Alexis Readinger

Lighting design: Lightspeed

Construction: Sundt

Project management: Tynan Group


Bar’s moody interiors evoke speakeasy style

Photo credit: Natelee Cocks 

Project: LEON

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Award: Hospitality – Bars and Clubs, Gold, 2022

Design practice: LW Design

Client: The Dubai EDITION

“Rich combination of materials really underscores the exclusivity. Beautiful project,” Kate Davis, Judge.

This speakeasy-inspired bar in the Dubai EDITION has dark and moody interiors which offer a juxtaposition to the rest of the hotel. Designed to evoke a mysterious yet exclusive atmosphere, guests enter through a dark timber door. The bar is wrapped in black marble while mesh-fronted vintage cabinets discreetly house a collection of rare liquors. Bright pink bar stools contrast with the intricate mosaic flooring. Seating options include small groupings of gold sofas, high-backed wing chairs and cosy bucket seating. The walls are lined with solid oak wood scallops, which are individually lit to give the illusion of thick, dark textured drapes around the bar while bright blue velvet curtains line the windows. A discreet exit door leads directly to the pick-up point, cleverly positioned for a quick getaway after a night out.

Design highlights:

A covered terrace is lined with pink sofas and Vincent Shepard chairs. Each sofa is framed with a façade mullion and candle-lit hurricane lanterns. Bathrooms feature basins constructed from St Laurent marble, which has been carefully vein-matched so that it appears to have been carved from a single block.


Lead designer: Pooja Shah Mulani

Contractor: Bhatia Contractor and JC Maclean.

Timeless hotel scheme creates cosy cocoon

Photo credit: Natelee Cocks 

Project: Dubai EDITION

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Award: Hospitality – Hotels and other overnight accommodation, Gold, 2022

Design practice: LW Design

Client: Dubai EDITION

“Feels fresh, welcoming and subtly upscale without being ostentatious,” Kate Davis, Judge.

Located in downtown Dubai, with views of the Burj Khalifa and the city’s Old Town, Dubai EDITION’s triple-height entrance lobby features an arched ceiling, iconic central spiral staircase and vast chandelier. The brief was to create spaces that didn’t look 'designed' but felt comfortable, elegant and luxurious. Each of the 275 fresh and light bedrooms has a consistent design language. They feature custom-made furniture, textured upholstery and a minimal material palette with light oak wood and stone accents such as soft leather headboards and timber-lined walls.  Attention to detail is in evidence throughout -for example matching the veins in the natural stone and wood to ensure that the bands do not repeat or appear stripy.

Design highlights:

The Duomo features a clever seating layout which allows guests great views of the arched ceiling and its mesmerising artwork. A series of images is projected onto the ceiling at night, in a dynamic display synced to music for a theatrical dining experience.

The intimate lighting scheme creates a cosy cocoon, from pockets of seating in the dramatic lobby, subdued lighting in the bedrooms to atmospheric illumination in the spa, bars and eateries.


Lead designer: Pooja Shah Mulani 

Lighting: Isometrix of London

Landscaping: SQM

Artwork: Carole Benitah, Onion Lab




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