Leisure By Design...

The 2011 Travel + Leisure Design Awards have been announced and the winners range from a contemporary Middle Eastern Mega Hotel to a US Desert Oasis , a  Gen Y targeted Cruise Line and a PUMA backpack that contains an inbuilt rain hood.

Among the diverse panel of judges were US fashion designer Norma Kamali, German born Nadja Swarovski (creative director of the Swarovski Crystal empire) and Henry Urbach the curator of Architecture and Design at the SFMOMA.

Expressions of youthfulness and enticement seem to be recurring traits that saw the winners and shortlisted entrants appealing to the jury.

In the category for 'Best Hotel Under 100 Rooms' the famed Pantone Hotel in Brussels took the gong for clever execution of  a fun concept without being too cute.

Pantone is clever, but not ‘cute,’ exactly what a small hotel should be.

Amangiri, part of the Aman Resorts collection, picked up the "Best Resort" Award.  Set deep in Utah's network of dramatic canyons the resort is built into the cliffs and designed by Rick Joy, Wendell Burnette Architects and Marwan Al-Sayed to sit harmoniously with it's surrounds.  Each building had local sands mixed into the concrete structure to ensure it blended seamlessly.

For many the Golden Age of cruising may be dead-in-the water, but the hip young things are very much in the sights of Cruise Lines.  NCL's newest ship EPIC has launched the "Studio Suites"  for the solo traveler in their prime.  Colourful, compact and contemporary.  Embracing communal dining options for singles, the venture appealed to the panel for it's bold move away from what is perceived to be a vacation alternative angled mainly toward the elderly.  Clever use of LED colour lighting, leather walls and "crisp but cozy" detailing transform these internal spaces from windowless internal cabins into vibrant suites.

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