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The former Head of Design at Harrods, and founder of Sara Cosgrove Design, knows how to create elegant, relaxing spaces. Alongside residential projects in Rathgar, Foxrock and Monkstown, Sara also oversaw the creative direction and design of Charlotte Square in Edinburgh, plus The Principal in York, Manchester, London and Edinburgh. Sara insists there isn’t a “perfect formula for designing the perfect hotel”, but the trick is to get the basics right, and then add some magic touches.
The Principal Manchester
As everyone knows, first impressions matter and scent is incredibly important: at the Double Tree Hilton they keep cookies in a warmer releasing a homely aroma, while also providing a tasty treat. Having a signature scent has become de rigueur of top hotels. At a smaller scale, having a scented candle in your hallway is a lovely way to bring a custom element to your own home. Choose a scent appropriate for the season and give your guests a luxe feeling as they enter your home.
I was lucky enough to work with the hotel visionary Barry Sternlicht who invented the Westin Heavenly Bed (a registered trademark combining a fluffy mattress, plump pillows and all-white linen that went on to become the industry standard). It almost single-handedly refocused the whole industry back to its core mission – sleep. And in the 15 years since it launched, little has changed. When designing a hotel bedroom, it starts with the bed base, mattress, topper and cotton bedlinen. I have spent months selecting the correct pillow mix. For those who want to apply the perfect bed design to their own sleep routine, when selecting your bed linen, choose a firm hollow-fibre polyester bottom pillow in standard size, and accompany with a European size pillow, with a duck and goose down mix filled pillow on top. This way, you get the best combination of firmness, softness and comfort.
The Principal Edinburgh George Street
Once again, back to the basics; a great shower is a fantastic start to any day, and in a hotel, is the next biggest consideration after the bed. When we design a hotel shower we always place the thermostat away from the shower head so you can get the temperature right without soaking your arm. However, if you are not ripping out your bathroom but want to go for a hotel-style upgrade, add some fresh towels, update your toiletries to your own signature brand and add some room fragrance for an instant bathroom lift.
Increasingly, it is the simple things that make the difference. Free, easy to access, powerful WiFi is no longer a luxury, but a must. Water on tap and not charged is also expected. We often also try to source local goodies as a free arrival treat and install tuck shops in the lobbies, so you can indulge without leaving the property. This is a lovely thing to do if you are having guests to stay, by adding a small treat and pile of the latest magazines, as well as adding some fluffy towels to the bed, you can give them a hotel style welcome to your home.
The Principal Manchester
Historically the lobby was a place of transition, of checking in and out. No more. Now we design lobbies to attract the locals and guests alike to stay and spend some hours. We provide lots of power points, comfortable seating and a range of table heights so people can chill, dine and work. We also love adding nooks and maximize use of interesting spaces to create additional chill-out or socialisation spaces. Creating a great vibe and energy in our lobby spaces is one of our key focuses when we create a space. In your own home, you can create your own chill-out nook by pairing a comfy armchair with a standing lamp and side table. Add some cool accessories to your sidetable such as stone drink matss, a brass candle holder and a pile of your favourite magazines. Champagne is optional, but recommended.