Ramy Salameh goes to Milan and Berlin to check out funky lifestyle hotel brand, nhow.
NH Hotel Group’s lifestyle brand ‘nhow’ has rapid expansion plans, with properties opening in Marseille, Santiago de Chile, London, Amsterdam, Lima and Frankfurt over the next four years.
CMW went to nhow Milan & Berlin to experience the concept and see why the brand is proving popular for planners.
“Disruptive, innovative and unconventional,” are the words used by Hugo Rovira, NH Hotel Group MD, Southern Europe, to describe the nhow brand. At the heart of the strategy is location and building strong relationships within the local communities, adding cutting-edge designs and themes inspired by names such as Karim Rashid and Matteo Thun.
Nhow Milan, originally a General Electric power plant, is part of the former industrial ‘Via Tortona’ district, now the hub of the city’s fashion, art and design zone. The environment defines nhow Milan as a design and lifestyle hotel, as does the in-house ‘Artist & Design Manager’ who curates two annual exhibitions at the property, attracting audiences beyond the paying guest.
Milan Fashion and Design Weeks are key dates in the hotel calendar. The hotel has supported a catwalk runway in the ‘Tunnel’ leading to the hotel entrance, running alongside the hotel’s 50m LED undulating screen known as ‘the wave’.
And T35, another of the hotel’s multi-functional spaces spreading 1,300sqm across two floors with terrace, hosts various fashion and DJ parties.
Design Week transforms the hotel into a showroom for new product designers. Philips Lighting IIG has used the hotel’s Suite as a showroom to launch its HUE wireless lighting technology to 1,000 attendees. Corrado Massone, marketing manager, Philips Lighting, says: “Showing our technology inside nhow Milan was an incredible opportunity to have an unconventional showroom in the heart of the city, reaching a wide audience”.
With a distinct character and design, nhow Berlin’s concept mirrors its elder sibling in Milan. Located within the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district (noted for its counterculture), nhow Berlin has developed a ‘Music & Lifestyle’ focus.
The hotel’s ‘Artist Relations Manager’ presides over two in-house recording studios and offers teambuilding exercises in mixing and recording. Room service offers a free guitar or keyboard service.
Neighbours share the synergy of music and lifestyle – Universal Music, MTV, Coca Cola, the Porsche Digital Lab and, a little further on, Funkhaus Berlin (studio and techno party venue) and help create a constant buzz of events and collaborations.
The Gallery is nhow Berlin’s most unconventional arena. A concrete shell morphs around most event briefs and is a blank canvas for art installations. Two interior floors are complemented by a sizeable upper terrace, hosting anything from a pink ice-skating rink through to a Christmas market and all looking over the historic Oberbaum Bridge.
The nhow brand is not just a hotel, but a multi-functional platform open to all. MICE planners are buying into this concept as a basis to foster creativity. Marseille and London are next in line to feel the ‘wow’ in ‘nhow’.