The HI Design Seminar Programme is world-class. It will educate, inspire, challenge and entertain. Impeccably hosted and moderated by Guy Dittrich, four sessions are delivered over two days. Audience participation is positively encouraged.

Here is the 2019 programme:


08:30 – 09:20

Middle East & Africa Market Update: Trends, Challenges and Opportunity.

You are looking for opportunity, right?  Where is the next big thing?  Which markets are flourishing?  And why?  How exciting does the project pipeline look?  Philip has the answers – well at least most of them!  Based in Dubai, Philip has been with STR, the world leader in hotel performance data for over a decade and has been busy growing STR’s reach in the region.  Painting a broad canvas, Philip will also look at individual markets in detail sharing performance knowledge across the African continent as well as diving into the specific hot spots of the Middle East with a particular focus on developments in Saudi.  “There is a lot of money being invested there and your guys need to be involved,” he explains.

STR provides the world’s leading Census and Pipeline database to vendors and investors around the world via their online platform, AM:PM Hotels.
To discover the productivity benefits of AM:PM Hotels STR invite you to a free trial to see what the system can do for you.

You will be available to sign up after the event by clicking on this link:
Please call me if you have any issues.

Philip Wooller | | +971 55 770 1202


14:35 – 15:35

Keynote Seminar: In conversation…..Paul Bishop and Kevin McLachlan

We want to shake things up a bit here at HI Design – to add a little Sri Lanka spice to proceedings.  So in a leap away from the traditional formats seen at other events we have two of the Dubai’s seasoned design campaigners in conversation on-stage.  No moderation.  Just two opinions looking at the big and small of the design scene as they see it.  A chat around the things that matter most to them in hospitality design.  And your chance to join the conversation as they field your questions along the way.  Paul Bishop, long recognised for his work in the F&B sector, scooping up numerous awards including the AHEAD MEA award for Best Bar 2017, is widening his scope and reach.  Kevin McLachlan, winner of Identity Design Awards ‘Best Middle East hotel’ has recently founded a new creative studio, NOMAD K, which promises a more collaborative and strategic approach to design. 

Join them for a lively and thought provoking exchange.


08:30 – 09:30

Geoffrey Bawa – the hotels

We are in Sri Lanka and did not want to miss the opportunity to get a better understanding of Geoffrey Bawa, the godfather of architecture in Sri Lanka.  Sri Lankans revere and respect the man who arguably gave us a whole architectural genre – Tropical Modernism – and a legacy that inspired the likes of Kerry Hill.  Bawa has something of a “George Washington slept here” type aura with a whole industry of tours built around his vast repertoire.  Additional to residential, work place and cultural gems he also created a fabulous selection of hotels, many still operational.  Amongst them are the Heritance Kandalama Hotel, Dambulla, Anantara Kalutara Resort, Kalutara, Blue Water Hotel, Wadduwa and the Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel, Galle.  We are delighted to have secured the services of one of his close protégés, Channa Daswatte, accomplished architect in his own right who worked with Bawa completing several of his projects after Bawa’s death in 2003. Channa is also a trustee of the Geoffrey Bawa Trust and has kindly agreed to present to us the life and work of Geoffrey Bawa with particular emphasis on his hotels.


13:05 – 14:05

Big Horizons on a Big Continent – Hotel Design in Africa

We are pleased to put the spotlight on hospitality design in Africa – the continent with the world’s youngest average population, which is expected to double by 2050.  That’s a Wild West scenario with a lot of opportunities and challenges.  Our expert panelists join us to share their knowledge of working in Africa.  Find out how to manage the expectations of local owners and international operators, make the best use of consultants and ensure projects are realised.  Better understand different regional climatic, cultural and business approaches and how these can impact the success of a new hotel.  On a continent where big boxes dominate, what room is there for niche design statements?  Should sustainability be left to the lodges?

Discover the peculiarities of doing hospitality design in Africa – the good, the bad and the ugly.