Fashion-branded hotels aren’t new but Laura Ashley The Manor could create a fresh wave of interest. Which brands would you like to bed down with, and which would you roll over to avoid?Nungwi Village
This week, Laura Ashley opened its first hotel. If the name, Laura Ashley The Manor, Elstree, Hertfordshire, doesn’t quite trip off the tongue, the 49-bedroom mock-Tudor manor is certainly attracting attention. The company’s design teams have worked on so many hotel interiors already that, according to Joint COO, Nick Kaloyirou, the project is “a natural progression, to take the brand one step further.”
Fashion-branded hotels are not new. Versace opened the famously-opulent Palazzo Versace in Queensland, Australia, in 2000. Even if you couldn’t contemplate couture, you could buy the jeans, and surround yourself with branded homewares on the Gold Coast.
Other Italian houses took to the idea: Bulgari, Ferragamo, Armani, Gucci, and Missoni – which has brought its signature stripes to the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. Though the most inviting, for me, are the Ferretti family’s boutique offerings, Carducci 76 and Palazzo Viviani, in Emilia-Romagna. Right now, a hotel brand is clearly the thing to have. Ikea is currently working on a project with Marriott to create a budget chain called Moxy, the first of which will open in Milan.Nungwi Village
In some ways, Laura Ashley is bringing the concept full circle, since it was a British name which did it first. Back in 1996 Mulberry founder Roger Saul opened Charlton House, a country-house hotel populated by colourful kilims, battered leather and muddy boots. It reflected perfectly his quintessentially English label.
The Manor is showcasing Laura Ashley furnishings (guests will sleep on the company’s beds, read by Laura Ashley lamps and sip afternoon tea resting on its chairs) but also, importantly, reissued archive designs – some dating back to the 1950s. More brands could try this.
Imagine a night chez Liberty, or a weekend in the embrace of American clothing and hip homewares boutique Anthropologie, and little would get me packing faster than interiors outlet Baileys (the holy grail of Gloucestershire) putting its shabby-hip stamp on accommodation. Who knows who we’ll be getting into bed with next. Which brands would you like to see turned into hotels – and which would you never stay in?