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.



08:30 – 09:20

What’s Up? Life in the fast lane of a changing geo-political climate.

Whether you’re an Operator, Designer, Procurement Company or Manufacturer, the success of your hotel project depends on two things: what you know and who you know.  HI Design will enhance both, starting with the regional scene-setter from STR.  Philip Wooller will deliver an accurate, up-to-date picture of the region’s project landscape from a broad brush overview down to the granular level.   A comprehensive look at impacts on the hotel industry including the general oversupply in the run up to Dubai 2020, the region’s ongoing political uncertainty and the call of Africa.  Where are the top performers and what will shape the industry in 2020 and beyond?


14:20 – 15:20

Spirit of Place

While we are the most connected species ever to roam this planet, possessing the technological ability to experience the world beyond our physical limits and instantaneously. But we are also the most disconnected, alienated from each other and our habitats. We communicate with people around the globe and vicariously engaging with the experiences of others. Yet we don’t find the time to smell the flowers, watch a rising or setting sun, or celebrate a full moon.

By blurring boundaries between nature and architecture and heightening our awareness of the beauty that surrounds us, design can bring ecological transformation and awakening, reconnecting and aligning us to the land and Earth.

By exploring themes in his international portfolio of projects, Chad Oppenheim will investigate how architecture can bring our senses closer to our planet and connect us to the landscape.


08:30 – 09:30

A New Paradigm for Arabic Design – Ammar Basheir

Scenographer and creator of event landscapes Ammar Basheir has spread the reach of his design into the world of hospitality.  Following a number of interventions at the Four Seasons London and the Ritz Carlton Bahrain comes the much-lauded hotel Nuzul Al Salam in Muharraq, the former pearl capital of the Kingdom of Bahrain that Basheir calls home.  Rebelling against the abundance of Aladdin-arabesque theming in the region he now weaves a different approach referencing modern and vintage looks along with artisanal designs and rich colour ways.  The melding of his varied experience that includes retail, civic and residential work allows Basheir to see things in a different light – as he will explain.  Join us to find out. 


13:05 – 14:05

Emotional Connection by Design

Everyone wants a bit of it.  Hotel design that is.  In their homes.  In their offices – who wants to go to a boring office anymore?  Even retail and civic spaces want a bit of hotel gloss.  Hotel design is all about experience creation and our panel of experts look at the power of this intangible.

Can design better make an emotional connection between hotel & guest?  Can design be stronger in creating experiences than the ‘soft’ factors of the staff to guest relationship and the programming of the hotel’s activities? How can design create more memorable experiences that are more likely to deliver hospitality’s raison d’être of repeat bookings?  How important is a ‘sense of place’ or to be connected?  How much story telling can the guest take?  Design allows differentiation and consequently brand proliferation – are we entering a time of even more personalised design?

Come and join the debate to find out.