[photopress:hotels_urbn_room.jpg,full,alignright]Inspired by old architecture from 1920s and 30s Shanghai, a boutique hotel with the deucedly odd name of URBN (sometimes they spell as urbn as one of our illustrations shows which is intended to confuse you) is being opened which, while being part of the past, takes an innovative step towards ensuring its future. Owners are Scott Barrack and Jules Kwan, who hope to create destinations of comfort and style but with environmental awareness and sustainability.
The first of what Barrack and Kwan hope to be many hotels is strategically located in a renovated 1970s factory warehouse, just two blocks from Nanjing Lu. Raefer Wallis of A00 Architecture used reclaimed hardwood and old Shanghai brick. The wall behind the reception counter is made entirely of time-worn, leather suitcases, evoking a more romantic era of travel.
(The thought occurs that some of them may belong to the writer who in his day has lost more than his fair share of suitcases. A careful check will be made.)
Katya Sawyer, director of sales and marketing for URBN said, ‘A lot of heart has gone into this hotel.’ No mention there of suitcases.
URBN focuses on recycled and locally sourced materials but is designed to be as energy efficient as possible.
Guests can take beginner’s Mandarin and Chinese cooking classes, as well as Tai Chi and yoga.
Scott Barrack said, ‘The mission is to get the guests involved in the community while doing our part to help build environmental awareness and, as we appreciate the community, impact it in as positive a way as possible.’
Will it work? Probably.
Interesting that at the moment a massive campaign by the government in Australia pushing water tanks, water miserly showers and so on has brought water consumption in some areas down by an amazing 50%.
[photopress:urbn_hotels2.jpg,full,alignright]So, yes, it can be done.
Let us trust that URBN merely has an effect on guests’ attitudes towards conservation, not spelling.
Source: China Daily