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Design Hotels 
’Generation Next’ Hoteliers

Kasemtham Sornsong,
t takes a bold voice, boundless energy and a grand plan to capture the heart, mind, and imagination of today’s discerning guest, and it is these qualities that define a new generation of visionary hoteliers. From Australia, where designer Fady Hachem is turning risk-taking into an art form, to a lesson in community integration with general manager Daniel Entenberg in New York, and bookended by storytelling with hotelier Kasemtham Sornsong in Thailand. Design Hotels™ shines a light on talented young trailblazers reshaping the face of hospitality.  

An Open Book

Kasemtham Sornsong, Owner, The Library, Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand

 The Library’s story begins with Kasemtham Sornsong’s parents who created a quaint beachside restaurant with 12 simple huts on Koh Samui. After university, Sornsong returned home and transformed the property into a lush, minimalist resort. When he first conceived The Library, he envisaged a retreat that recaptured the joys of storytelling, “When guests leave here, I want them to feel that they have just left a magical place full of stories”. Aged just 26 when The Library launched, Sornsong used the book as the core motif of the hotel’s visual and spiritual identity. Together with designer Tirawan Songsawat, Sornsong has created an elegant, resort surrounded by expansive grounds that provide guests with space to grow and create, a blank page on which they can write their own story. Eager to narrate his own heritage and passion for the natural beauty of Koh Samui, Sornsong has ensured that The Library’s 26 suites (with 20 more to come in 2016) are interspersed with untamed greenery – creating perfect harmony between hotel and landscape. Thanks to Sornsong’s youthful energy and pioneering design, The Library remains at the forefront of hospitality in the area. Far more than simply the hotel-du-jour, Sornsong’s unique concept has embodied The Library with a living, breathing quality that will grow and evolve, and ultimately stand the test of time. Much like a good book. 

The Willy Wonka of Hospitality
Fady Hachem, Designer and Original, Adelphi Hotel, Melbourne, Australia

 Now a prolific designer heading up one of Australia’s most progressive design studios, Fady Hachem’s first commission was a baptism of fire – the design of local bar ‘Drew’. At the tender age of nineteen, the newly-graduated Fady Hachem won the commission for the $2m overhaul of award-winning bar ‘Bond’.  However, it was the renovation of the 34-room Adelphi Hotel that catapulted the young designer to international acclaim. Together with owners Dion Chandler and Ozzie Kheir, Hachem set out to rebel against the staid minimalism defining Australian hotel design, and transform the iconic hotel into a deeply imaginative world with bright bursts of kaleidoscopic colors, wacky shapes, and delicious experiences. Behind the success of the hotel’s visual identity is Hachem’s innovative and organic approach, ‘I believe in a holistic approach to design, where strategies for branding, interiors, and architecture are developed simultaneously, to interact and merge’. Hachem’s whimsical vision and all-encompassing design ethos is reflected in the dessert-inspired aesthetics of the Adelphi Hotel. Central to the design is the bold use of contrasting colors, fabrics, textures and witty details such as the “licorice allsorts” chairs – encouraging a full-sensory experience where guests stop and engage with their surroundings. Hachem’s risk-taking enthusiasm for hospitality design can be best summarized by Adelphi Hotel’s motto, ‘Life is uncertain, so eat dessert first’.

Empire State of Mind

Daniel Entenberg, General Manager, Gramercy Park Hotel, New York City, United States

The consummate hotelier, Daniel Entenberg, has hospitality running through his veins. Brooklyn born and bred, Entenberg studied Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management at Pennsylvania State University before working his way up the leadership ladder in some of America’s best hotels, including a very memorable stint as Romance Concierge. Entenberg had the ultimate homecoming when he took up the mantle at New York’s 185-room Gramercy Park Hotel in 2013. Conceiving a thoroughly modern management approach, Entenberg has stepped away from the traditional general manager role and instead immersed himself into every aspect of hotel life. “When you commit to lead a property, it truly needs to be a part of your DNA. I can honestly say, I eat, sleep and breathe Gramercy Park Hotel.”

 Taking this approach to the utmost extreme, Entenberg even ensures that he smells like the hotel by using Gramercy Park Hotel's signature Le Labo amenities. Understanding that the idea of luxury-hospitality transcends the superficial trappings of the classic five star hotel, Entenberg works to create a meaningful relationship between the hotel and the local community to give guests an authentic, local experience.

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