Wellness, Evolution of Lifestyle Takes Centerstage at HD Expo 2019

HD Expo, the premier tradeshow and conference for hospitality design, brought wellness and sustainability to the forefront with the introduction of a Wellness Pavilion during its most recent event, staged May 15 — 17, 2019, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Thousands of attendees dropped by to hear from industry experts and startups alike about the influential $4.2 trillion industry–from new trends and innovative sustainable materials meeting the demands of health-minded consumers to how designers and operators are introducing an all-encompassing level of immersive design.     “The wellness industry is one of the fastest growing affecting all aspects of design–hospitality, workplace, residential, and retail,” says Stacy Shoemaker Rauen, vice president of the HospitalityDesign    Group and editor in chief of ​Hospitality Design magazine. “Wellness has been top of mind for us at the magazine (our entire March/April issue was devoted to the topic), and we wanted to make sure this important topic took center stage at this year’s show.”

In a rare appearance, Sydell Group Founder and CEO Andrew Zobler delivered the keynote address on the second day of the expo, where he discussed the future of lifestyle hotels while highlighting the evolution of Sydell Group’s top brands, including the recently opened NoMad as Vegas. He was just one highlight of the more than 100 speakers who graced the stage at this year’s show, also tackling the meaning of lifestyle today and other such important topics as new brands to know, trends in restaurant design, the evolution of experiential travel, and development updates. Some of the veterans and rising stars who spoke included Neil Jacobs, Six Senses; Clodagh, ClodaghDesign; Calvin TsAO & McKOWN; BradWilson, Ace Hotels; Mari Balestrazzi, Hyatt Hotels; Huxley Hogeboom, Equinox Hotels; Alessandro Munge, Studio Munge; Margaret McMahon, Wimberly Interiors; Nate Siehr, Marriott; Allison Reid, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants; Christina Zimmer, Highgate Hotels; Molly Swyers, 21c Museum Hotels; Mike Fuerstman, Pendry Hotels; and Kfir Levy, Habitas.

The Box Design Challenge continued the conversation by challenging 11 top design firms to design and create the next best in lifestyle guestrooms. On the heels of last year’s success, ​Hospitality Design magazine once again partnered with Hilton to host this exciting competition onsite, eventually naming    Urban Robot the winner after a grueling 24-hour design period. Other impressive design firms such as    Curioso, Gulla Jonsdottir Architecture, and Design, HBA, Office Untitled and Stonehill Taylor took part in the fast-paced design challenge. The winning design–an indoor-outdoor abode decided upon by Bobby Berk, star of ​Queer Eye​; Anthony Melchiorri, Ageo Hospitalityandformerstarof​HotelImpossible​;Larry Traxler, Hilton; and Daniel Wade, Plaza LV–will be built out and revealed at HD Expo 2020, with exclusive  behind-the-scenes content featured throughout the year on the HD Expo’s website. ​Click here for a short video recap of the design and judging process.

HD Expo’s Best Booth Award winners ​were a celebration of creativity across categories, including Best      Insta Moment winnerPOLaRT, Most Creative use of Production a Boothwinner LDF Silk, and Best of Show   winner Old Hickory Furniture Co., Inc. Selecting the winners were judges Andrew Alford, Graduate Hotels; Barrie Borovsky and Nicole Fournier, MGM Resorts; and Siobhan Barry, Gensler. Phillip Jeffries, Viso Lighting, and Valley Forge Fabrics were also among the winners.

Other key sessions, areas, and activations at HD Expo 2019 included:

The Social Hub: A serene space designed by Rottet Studio and filled with luxurious finishes, sculptural furniture, and sumptuous fabrics, the Social Hub featured leading brand executives, hoteliers, and designers​ ​in intimate, 30-minute conversations spread throughout the show.

Technology Pavilion: ​Just steps away from the Wellness Pavilion, the Technology Pavilion featured innovative companies currently enhancing the in-room guest experience, including Timeshifter, Fohlio  Inc., No Stay and Smart HotelSystems. Zen Spaces sponsored private,tech-enabled pods available for use throughout the show.

HD/ISHP Owners’ Roundtable: This always sold-out event brought designers, architects, and purchasing  firms face-to-face with industry leaders representing some of the world’s most significant brand,              ownership, and management groups, including Davidson Hotels, Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, Four Seasons,    Rockbridge, Geolo Capital, SBE, and Stormont Hospitality Group. For 10 minutes, the table hosts offered attendees coveted and candid insight on the business of design, including upcoming developments,        company initiatives, and their industry outlook, before rotating to the next table.

The HD Passport Cash Giveaway: Lindsey Johnson, Sera Architects, took home $10,000 as the winner of the first HD Passport CashGiveaway. Each attendee was given a passport at registration and tasked with collecting stamps from nine sponsoring exhibitors. All completed passports were entered into a drawing held on the last day, which was a fun and exciting way to close out the 2019 event.     “The energy at HD Expo was inspiring and extremely positive. The exhibitors showcased great new product, and attendees really embraced the size and boldness of the event, appreciating the ability to create an experience geared specifically towards their own professional goals,” said Kevin Gaffney, Group Show Director, HD Expo. With attendance up over last year and over 80 percent of the show floor already sold for 2020,HDExpo continues to lead in driving industry innovation, knowledge, and inspiration. For other conference highlights and product spotlights, visit​ ​www.hdexpo.com​.