Asia Pacific

HOFEX 2017 review and a new FCSI APD board announced

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With 39,060 visitors HOFEX 2017 was a great success. The show also saw the announcement of a new board for FCSI Asia Pacific

With a total exhibiting space of 66,000m2, HOFEX 2017 Hong Kong, which wrapped on on 11 May, was deemed “a tremendous success” by Clara Pi FCSI, interim chair of FCSI Asia Pacific Division (APD). The show boasted a total number of 39,060 visitors from 86 countries and regions participating during the four-day show while overseas visitor numbers grew by 17.2% when compared to the 2015 edition.

FCSI APD had a booth on site to promote the Society and its brand, as well as sales of the FCSI Kitchen Design book.

The FCSI APD programme included the Divisions’s AGM, where Pi was pleased to announce the election of new board trustees. “We welcome John Thomas FCSI as APD chair and Brandon Kua FCSI and Mario Sequeira  FCSI, as representatives for SE Asia region and ANZC respectively,” she says. (See below for a full list of the new FCSI APD board).

A two-hour education seminar was also held in the afternoon titled ‘Latest trends and developments in the foodservice industry’. After the seminar, FCSI APD members were invited to present awards at the ACE (Asia Catering Equipment) award ceremony, as APD consultants played a vital role in this event.

The Asian Catering Equipment Awards

The Asian Catering Equipment Awards honors manufacturers and designers of foodservice equipment who have innovatively improved the current and future profitability and sustainability of the catering & hospitality industry. The ACE Awards distinguish excellent, first-rated and outstanding equipment and to further promote the idea of sustainable catering within the industry and beyond during Asia’s leading Food & Hospitality Tradeshow, HOFEX.

The judging panel featured FCSI professional consultants William Taunton FCSI, president, FCSI Worldwide; Brandon Kua FCSI, Citrus Consult Sdn Bhd Malaysia; Sidney Man FCSI, FCSI APD board trustee, Central Asia; Clara Pi MSC FCSI, interim chair, FCSI Asia Pacific, healthcare foodservice consultant, food and nutrition environmentalist; Jimmy Wong-AIA/FCSI, director, Orange design and Robert Mang FCSI, principal – Greater China, DiSHES-Independent Kitchen & Laundry Consultants.

Judging criteria

  • Visual design
  • Functionality
  • Ease of use
  • Energy output
  • Uniqueness of design
  • Benefits and features
  • Innovation technology applied
  • Commercial success
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Uniqueness and originality
  • Energy efficiency
  • Design features that reduce food waste
  • Design features that increase the effective life of the product and reduce the need for constant renewal
  • Equipment manufacture and materials used
  • Product performance

Result of the 2017 ACE AWARDS

  • Innovative Light Equipment Award: Robot Cook from Robot Coupe
  • Innovative Heavy Equipment Award: BKON from Franke
  • Innovative Water/Energy-Saving Equipment Award: CUCIMIX from Firex
  • Innovative Labour-Saving Equipment Award: RATIONAL SelfCookingCenter
  • Innovative New Catering Equipment Award: The Control Freak from Polyscience
  • Innovative Sustainable Catering Equipment Award: Granule Smart FreeFlow Edition from Granuldisk
  • Innovative Visual Design Catering Equipment Award: Jobs from Orion
  • “Chef’s favorite” Award – a selected group of Chefs rated shortlisted entries: Robot Coup.

New FCSI APD board announced

Following the HOFEX 2017 show, FCSI APD is pleased to announce the results of the recent elections for board of trustees, effective immediately.

The new FCSI APD Board is as below:

FCSI APD representatives on the Worldwide board are:

  • John Walter Thomas FCSI, APD chair
  • Clara Pi FCSI, past chair and WW secretary/treasurer
  • Greg O’Connell, FCSI APD allied Representative

Michael Jones




Until April, the 457 visa was a staple part of recruitment in the Australian foodservice and hospitality sectors; its abolition means all this is set to change, reports Thomas Lawrence

Australia’s 457 visa was introduced in 1996, providing employees with four years’ work and study rights as well as pathways to permanent residency.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has promised that in scrapping the programme his government is “ensuring that Australian jobs and Australian values are first”. Two new visas will take its place, removing permanent residency pathways, restricting the list of permitted occupations and introducing experience requirements meaning recent hospitality graduates may be unable to apply.

Reliance on the visa in service industries had been intensifying for some time. Cooks were the largest single occupation class under the old system, and Australian government estimates suggest the tourism and hospitality sectors will require an additional 123,000 workers by 2020.

In addition to facilitating the arrival of foodservice and hospitality professionals with niche skill sets, the visa had helped employers plug lower-skilled labour shortages through the allure of permanent residency after two years. Now this settlement has been thrown into doubt.

Sweeping changes

The depleted list of professions eligible for the most generous visas in the new programme will be unwelcome reading for many foodservice professionals. Chefs, for example, have made the cut, but with some caveats; silver service cooks and restaurateurs are welcome, but their fast food counterparts have been disqualified.

There are also some conspicuous absences from the long-stay list. Bakers, agricultural technicians and consultants, hospitality managers and wine growers are all eligible for temporary permits only. With so many jobs on the list – most of which have been fertile ground for immigrant labour and entrepreneurship in the past – upheavals to visa rules threaten to change the face of Australian foodservice one way or another.

The government has won cross-party support for recent legislation designed to nudge Australian workers to the front of the jobs queue. In addition to the abolition of the 457 visa, this includes tripling the cost of temporary visas to encourage employers to seek employees locally. However, foodservice and hospitality professionals have reacted dubiously to proposals threatening the depth and cost-efficiency of their potential pool of workers.

But there may be light at the end of the tunnel for the industry’s beleaguered employers. The recently announced federal budget has promised extensive tax cuts for small businesses as well as a levy on firms employing foreign workers. This will be used to pay for the government’s flagship Skilling Australians Fund, funding 30,000 training programmes from apprenticeships to high-level re-education schemes supporting the country’s burgeoning hospitality sector.

This is a tricky transitional period for Australian service professionals; the full consequences of the 457 visa’s abolition are not fully known and the prospect of investment in the country’s foodservice and hospitality workforce is still some way off. Business owners and employees in affected industries must monitor this fast-moving topic.

Thomas Lawrence

Ayurveda expert Dr. Mahesh Sabade looks at the origins of this ancient cuisine and assesses how people can benefit from it today, around the world

Ayurveda is a traditional system of medicine that originated several thousand years ago. It touches every aspect of our life, right from health maintenance to disease management, from food to medicines and from exercise to sleep; everything is based on ayurvedic principles.

Apart from diseases and their management, ayurvedic texts are supplemented with various healthy foods and recipes. Some of the recipes were part of Indian cuisine but over the period, they have lost their originality and have become unhealthy versions of themselves. It is important to know that Indian cuisine is not Ayurvedic cuisine.

In Ayurveda, the study of planning food is studied in a very holistic manner keeping the specific qualities of food (and its source), the health status of the individual, the season and place in mind. In this paradigm, planned food helps in restoring the health as well as preventing health hazards. Each food is a natural substance may it be from plant or animal source. It possesses its own individual characteristics just the way an herb would possess certain specific qualities. These qualities can be incorporated in a diet to create season specific, disease specific or benefit specific diet plans.

Healthy and palatable

Ayurvedic cuisine is a special branch that not only helps us keep healthy but is palatable also. This cuisine has a wide range of spices to use. Each spice used in cooking is as good as a medicinal herb with plenty of medicinal values. The use of proper spices makes the food flavourful as well as healthy.

Why do we need it now? This probably is the era where we are seeing highest number of diseases ranging from common to rare most conditions as well as from minor to severe conditions. Apart from various diseases that are diagnosed, there are certain conditions that are still not manifested as a full-blown disease but still they are creating some ill health. Such subclinical conditions and various diseases, have potential to disturb the physical as well as mental health of any individual. The diseases we see in today’s world are primarily the NCDs – non-communicable diseases. These diseases do not require any specific mode for their transmission. We ourselves create these conditions by not following a proper regimen for the maintenance the health. The foundation of health is proper diet and lifestyle.

Diet and lifestyle

Occupational hazards, an unhealthy work style, erratic sleep timings, irregular eating pattern, and unhealthy exercise patterns, along with making the wrong eating choices, are the main causes for manifestation of various disorders. The list includes diseases such as diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis, MS, cardiac disorders, hypertension, digestive issues, gout, cancer and the list goes on. Furthermore, emotions and stress play a major role in augmenting the predicament. Emotions and thoughts though considered as psychological activities, they undoubtedly are influenced by the food that we eat.

The benefits are visible in clients suffering from various conditions. Here are few instances in which food has proved to be the healing agents:

  • Recipes that have yam in them are usually soothing for a person suffering from hemorrhoids.
  • Ginger based recipes increase the appetite and so on.
  • It is evident that a particular vegetable (gulvel) has a wonderful role in reducing the pain in gout and the uric acid levels as well.
  • Similarly, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma are the conditions that show a relief with specific diet plans.
  • There are certain diet plans that can help in digestive issues, reproductive issues and many other conditions.
  • Along with the diseases, there are certain diet plans that help to maintain health, increase vitality and vigor and so on.

There cannot be a better time to introduce ayurvedic cuisine than now. With ayurvedic cuisine and some introduction to ayurveda, people are already benefiting around the world. Could you delight your customer with it too?

Dr. Mahesh Sabade



Ken Sangster FCSI is the former owner and principal of Sangster Design Group, in Sydney, Australia. He retired in April 2017, after starting his career in 1985

What sort of work have you specialised in?
Foodservice design in Australia is a little like ‘one size fits all’. All consultants do most types of projects. We tended to specialise in aged care, corporate, hotels and government. In the last few years we have been privileged to include Event Hospitality & Entertainment Group as one of our clients, working on four hotel brands and multiple cinema sites that now include putting foyer bars as wells as snacks and sweets, espresso coffee and foodservice into their cinemas.

What did you enjoy about your profession?
The sense of comradeship, plus the satisfaction of seeing a project through from conception. This involves creating the space, developing the design through the various planning stages, dealing with architects and engineers, culminating in a tender package. To then obtain tender prices that are close to the budget established at the conceptual stage of the project, provides not only a relief, but enhances reputation. To then follow through construction, with all the pitfalls builders bring to the project, and finally see the project in operation is extremely gratifying or greatly disappointing. There is no middle ground here, operators can give you a high or low depending on many variables, including when they come on board and how they want to develop the business or change the facility. I prefer gratifying!

What has been your greatest achievement?
Electing to move into design consultancy, and to establish my own design business in the 1990s. I have worked on projects for the best hotel chains in the world, Australia’s four major banks and large mining company corporate offices, but I get more satisfaction working in the aged care business where I often state “foodservice is a quality of life issue”, not simply a “cost centre”. Finding the right balance here, is, I believe, my greatest achievement.

What does FCSI mean to you and what are the challenges facing FCSI in Australia?
I have been a professional member since 1995 and in all that time I don’t believe it has provided me with more than one or two projects, but that is not the reason we should join. FCSI membership is to support our industry, our clients and each other. To be able to ring and discuss a problem is priceless. To support equipment suppliers, authority regulators as an association, rather than individuals is essential. FCSI in this part of the world is under the Asia Pacific banner, but foodservice design in Australia is more akin to Europe. Here labour costs are high, and built space expensive, which is the opposite of the rest of the region, other than New Zealand. We are really not compatible with the Americas either. Hence FCSI here is facing a significant challenge – I am not sure how this will be resolved.

Now you have retired, what is your legacy for the industry?
I firmly believe that foodservice design consultants must be leaders and innovators, not followers. Each consultant must make themselves aware of current industry trends, innovations in equipment and how world catering is moving. Consultants must get out there, meet with equipment manufacturers/suppliers, talk to caterers and operational consultants. We are not just designing the kitchen we are designing our clients’ business.

Michael Jones

This year Hotelex saw an increase in visitors, confirming it as one of the most influential events in hospitality and catering

Hotelex Shanghai was successfully held at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre in Shanghai, China from 28 March to the 31 March 2017 . The rising profile and the increase in popularity is evident by the 10% increase in attendance as compared with 2016.

In addition to foodservice equipment, this year’s event also showcased tableware, textiles, information technology systems, security systems, wine and spirits, bakeries and ice-cream.

FCSI Asia Pacific had a complimentary booth beside the public forum area where projects of FCSI members were on display. FCSI APD members also participated as speakers/panelists – three FCSI APD members spoke on a hotel kitchen design forum while two FCSI members were speaking at the central production forum. Both forums were full with over 200 attendees.

FCSI APD led and participated in the first equipment award selection process at Hotelex Shanghai and for the first time FCSI members were invited to join the gala banquet where the award ceremony took place. We look forward to continued collaboration with UBM in upcoming events in Asia.

Clara Pi

Vietnam’s convenience market will outpace other countries in the region with double-digit growth over the next four years, according to international grocery research organization IGD

The Asian Development Bank’s prediction of 5.7% growth in 2017 means Asia’s economic expansion, despite stabilising, remains world beating. Laos, India and Cambodia are among the region’s fastest growers.

Such growth has provided fertile ground for Asia’s blooming grocery market. It is already the biggest in the world, and will grow by 6.3% over the next four years to reach a size of $4.8trn by 2021 – equivalent to Europe and North America’s markets combined.

Vietnam’s economic growth has progressed less consistently than some of its neighbours, but foodservice has rocketed ahead. Using convenience store operator performance as an indicator, IGD forecasts 37.4% growth in Vietnam’s convenience market, compared to 24.2% in the Philippines and 15.8% in Indonesia.

Nick Miles, Head of Asia-Pacific at IGD, is optimistic that conditions are in place for sustained growth in Asia’s convenience sector. “Among all the bricks and mortar grocery channels, convenience shows the strongest growth prospects in Asia, thanks to rapid urbanisation, a growing young population and greater levels of disposable income”.

According to Miles, Vietnam’s convenience stores have tapped into the country’s burgeoning youth market, placing them in a particularly strong position. “The stores provide them with an air-conditioned environment, well-organised shelves and seating areas, high quality products and, in some stores, free Wi-Fi”.

Growth set to continue
IGD has identified three key characteristics making Asia a hub for convenience growth.

Store expansion is a key factor, with the fastest growing convenience markets driven by an increase in store numbers. Stores are increasingly moving from the biggest cities to more provincial areas, driving growth in new terrain.

Linked to this, local firms with superior insight into national convenience trends are becoming more prominent players. Vietnam’s VinMart is an outstanding example, scaling up operations to achieve countrywide status in a market previous dominated by Japanese retailers.

In addition to the expansion of national supermarket chains, mini-supermarkets springing up in local neighbourhoods have also helped to boost convenience markets by catering to local needs.

Asia’s convenience boom is picking up pace as more regional players get in on the action. Vietnam leads the way, but conditions are ripe continent-wide for foodservice professionals to carve a niche in this vibrant industry.

Thomas Lawrence

Food safety concerns and produce scarcity are among the drivers of an increase in indoor agriculture in Japan. Melinda Joe tracks the rise of vertical farming

The Spread factory sits beside the highway on a lonely stretch of land outside Kameoka, a former farming community west of Kyoto. Once famous for chestnuts, rice, and fragrant matsutake mushrooms, the area is now more closely associated with another crop: lettuce. Inside the company’s two giant warehouses, factory workers in sterile white suits monitor the conditions in a sealed growing zone, where trays of the leafy vegetable are stacked in columns stretching four stories high.

Spread is Japan’s largest plant factory, a 3,000 sq m indoor-farming facility that turns out 21,000 heads of lettuce a day. Later this year, the company plans to open a second plant equipped with robot technology that will more than double its daily production.

Also known as vertical farms, plant factories like Spread use LED lighting and hydroponics to cultivate crops in highly controlled environments – without sunlight, soil, or pesticides. Hydroponic systems use pumps and filters to circulate a nutrient-dense solution around the roots of each plant, replacing the need for dirt and fertilisers.

In Japan, indoor agriculture has been on the rise ever since 2011, when the earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear disaster that ravaged the northeastern region of Tohoku sparked concerns over food safety. According to data from the Japan Plant Factory association, the number of vertical farms operating in Japan has swelled from 34 in 2009 to 210 in 2016, and the idea is catching on across Asia, in countries such as China, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Indoor farm incentives

Though it sounds like a futuristic dream, the concept of soil-free farming goes back to 1940, when William Frederick Gericke, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, published the first book about hydroponic agriculture, Complete Guide to Soilless Gardening, which he hoped would lead to world peace.

After the Second World War, the technology was introduced in Japan and used to grow around 1.5 million kg of fresh produce to alleviate shortages. The Japanese began experimenting with closed- environment growing systems in the 1950s. The scarcity of arable land, combined with a shift toward industrialisation, spurred scientists to

find new ways to feed Japan’s rapidly expanding population. By the 1970s, electronics giant Hitachi, became the world’s first company to start test runs with modern plant factory technology.

In recent years, Japan’s agriculture industry has faced even greater problems, as the average age of farmers – estimated at 67 in 2016 – continues to creep up. Climate change and an increase in extreme weather events – such as the severe drought that ruined crops last year have intensified instability, making the farming business even less attractive to the younger generation of workers. In 2008, the Japanese government launched a campaign to promote indoor agriculture.

According to a report by investment firm Newbean Capital, more than half of the country’s indoor farms have received either loans or subsidies.

Spread was an early beneficiary of government support. However, when the company started operating in 2008 it struggled, finally achieving profitability in 2013. “When

our products first appeared in supermarkets, plant-factory-grown vegetables weren’t yet recognised by many. Our sales staff had a hard time selling them to retail stores,” says factory manager Naohiro Oiwa, who oversees the Kameoka plant.

Spread’s representatives took pains to explain the production process, highlighting the factory’s ultra-hygienic conditions and the quality of their crops. Gradually, attitudes have shifted as more vertical farmers have entered the sector: “Now, there are more competing companies and many different retailers selling the products. There

are even supermarkets with special sections devoted to plant-factory- grown vegetables,” Oiwa notes.

Spread sells its four varieties of lettuce to 2,200 supermarkets across Japan, as well as directly to some restaurants and in-flight caterers.

Complex technology

At the new facility, artificial intelligence will automate tasks such as raising seedlings – a move that will cut labour costs by 50% and boost profitability. Spread also aims to lower energy consumption by 30% and reduce water use to a minimum. But while today’s plant factories have become much more efficient, limitations remain. Most of Japan’s plant factories grow only leafy green vegetables; other types of produce require more light and different maintenance systems to create conditions suited to each crop. Such changes require time to develop and major investment.

Mebiol, an agri-tech startup located outside Tokyo, has devised an exciting, low-cost alternative to the plant factory model. Dubbed film farming or dry farming, the system features a thin polymer membrane made of hydrogel – a material typically used in products such as disposable diapers – perforated with nano-sized pores. The technology is complex, but the idea is simple: plants absorb water and nutrients through the film’s tiny holes, which are too small for viruses, bacteria and other microbes to penetrate. The membrane’s powerful filtration properties eliminate the need for the expensive machinery that keeps water circulating in hydroponic systems, and less water is required to operate the farms. “Much of the water in hydroponic farms is lost, but we have near-zero water waste,” says Dr Yuichi Mori, the polymer physicist who invented the film farming technique.

Dry farms can be established anywhere – on city rooftops, in the desert, and even on top of contaminated land. The method is being used to grow intensely sweet tomatoes, peppers and melons in 150 locations around Japan and one in China, as well as on a farm in the middle of the desert in the UAE. Mebiol will export its technology to Europe and other countries in the Middle East later this year. A restaurant in Germany, for example, plans to implement the system on site to offer fresh vegetables harvested to order.

“I believe this technology can increase food security and make the world a better place,” Mori says.

William Frederick Gericke expressed the same sentiment nearly 80 years ago. Utopia still remains a distant vision, but farming advances may help bring us one step closer.

Melinda Joe

Picture: Mebiol, Spread

Nationwide reforms to food taxes and labeling are under examination by the Indian government. But food and drinks multinationals are fighting back

Worth $57bn, India’s foodservice market is one of the world’s most lucrative. However, this boom has come at a price. British medical journal The Lancet estimates the number of obese men and women in India hit 30 million in 2014, while the Times of India reported the country was home to 60 million cases of diabetes in 2015.

Some areas have already taken action. Last year, Kerala, one of India’s most overweight states, introduced a 14.5% tax on burgers, pizzas, doughnuts and tacos served in branded restaurants.

Now the government is pushing for widespread change. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reportedly on the verge of confirming proposals requiring manufacturers to display  fat, sugar and salt content on packaging. This could be rolled out as soon as April. A nationwide “fat tax” is also in the offing as a longer-term plan.

In February, the backlash began. Executives from corporations including PepsiCo, Nestle and consumer organisation ITC met with trade groups in New Delhi to discuss a unified message in the face of more stringent regulation.

Estimates suggest India’s carbonated drinks sector will grow by an average 3.7% and the packaged food sector by 8% annually between 2017 and 2021. With the likes of PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Nestlé and McDonalds pumping billions of dollars into the country to tap its immense potential, the multinationals are gearing up to battle legislation that could get in their way.

The Indian government shows no signs of backing down from its proactive stance on public health, while multinational foodservice firms have shown their appetite for unity against new red tape. The standoff’s fallout could have significant foodservice implications for years to come.

Thomas Lawrence

Tokyo's luxury hotel Hoshinaya is standout winner, scooping the Lobby & Public Spaces, Best Urban Hotel and AHEAD Asia's Hotel of the Year categories

The Awards for Hospitality Experience and Design (AHEAD) has revealed its Asia winners at The Capital Theatre, Singapore.

Building on the success of the AHDA (Asian Hotel Design Awards) AHEAD celebrates design in all its forms and the guest experience it creates in hospitality projects worldwide. A panel of judges, comprising industry leading hoteliers, architects, and interior designers, assessed entries on their aesthetic excellence, guest experience and commercial viability.

The standout winner at the awards, which took place on 7 March, was luxury hotel Hoshinaya in Tokyo. The property took home three awards on the evening in the Lobby & Public Spaces category as well as Best Urban Hotel, making the property AHEAD Asia’s Hotel of the Year.

AHEAD Director, Matt Turner comments: “The judges had a tough job on their hands choosing winners of the inaugural AHEAD Asia awards as the standard was exceptionally high across the board. The winners were selected for their exceptional design and its contribution to the guest experience in these outstanding hotel properties.”

Full list of winners with judge’s comments: 

Bar, Club & Lounge – Akademi at Katamama, Seminyak, Bali

The judges applauded Akademi for reinventing the traditional lobby bar as a place for learning and meeting, as well as drinking.

Guestrooms – Akyra Manor Hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Akya Manor Hotel was praised for its “clean lines, urban feel and interesting use of FF&E to deliver a unique indoor/outdoor guest experience.”

Hotel Renovation & Restoration – The Edison George Town, Penang

“Charming”, “beautiful” and “authentic” were just a few of the words the judges used to described the way The Edison’s designers have respected a classic and original building, while injecting a new personality into it.

Landscaping & Outdoor Spaces – Keemala, Phuket, Thailand

The judges commented that the landscaping of Keemala has created truly memorable experiences for everyone who stays there. The natural way it integrates into its environment, with guestrooms nestled into the jungle surroundings, was considered respectful and restrained.

Lobby & Public Spaces – Four Seasons Hotel, Seoul, Korea

This project was singled out for its sense of sanctuary, and the way it welcomes in its guests – a clever use of space with a strong sense of place. The judges commended Four Seasons Hotel for creating “A wonderful celebration of the heritage of Korea – modern and balanced”.

Resort Hotel – Alila Anji, China

The judges praised the calm, quiet sensitivity of the design, marking “a radical departure for resort design in China”. “Timeless, modern and classic all at once” was one judge’s summary.

Restaurant – Colony at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia, Singapore

‘Outstanding Execution – Tony Chi at his very best’ was one of the reactions to this popular Singapore restaurant. Several judges highlighted the way the design breaks down a challenging space to create a variety of dining experiences for its guests – “a different experience each time you visit”.

Spa & Wellness – Four Seasons Hotel, Seoul, Korea

The  judges were impressed by the sheer scope of the spa and wellness facilities at the Four Seasons Seoul, from gym and pool through to the treatment areas, praising its design team for creating a “Tranquil and rejuvenating” environment for locals and international travellers alike.

Suite – Ambassador Suite at Grand Hyatt, Hong Kong

“Comfortable, warm, detailed and disciplined” were just a few of judges’ comments on this luxurious suite at the Grand Hyatt, whose aspirational design offers a “definitive feeling of an upgrade”.

Urban Hotel – Hoshinoya, Tokyo

Hoshinoya was a clear winner in its category. The judges praised its “Amazing concept and aesthetics”, combining architecture, landscape and interiors to create modern interpretation of the traditional Ryokan.

Visual Identity of the Year – Coo, Singapore

COO Singapore was selected for the way its branding spoke clearly to its target audience of millennial travellers. The judges felt its clever use of graphics, artwork and signage has been combined with its innovative online presence ‘COO Connect’ allowing guests to link up with like-minded guests.

New Concept of the Year – Hoshinoya, Tokyo

This modern take on the traditional Japanese ryokan impressed the judges with its innovative approach to hospitality, combining contemporary design with traditional craftsmanship.

Outstanding Contribution – Kerry Hill

With a career in hotel design spanning some 40 years, Kerry Hill has been a pioneer of resort design across Asia and beyond. The judges of AHEAD Asia were delighted to honour his outstanding contribution to the industry, from early works such as the The Datai in Langkawi, and the Chedi Bandung, through to recent projects such as Aman Tokyo and COMO The Treasury Hotel in Perth, Australia.

AHEAD Asia Hotel of The Year 2017 – Hoshinoya, Tokyo

Winning three awards on the night, Hoshinoya was recognised for creating “beautiful urban spaces” and using local materials and traditions to create a truly unique guest experience. The hotel captured the imagination of all the judges who felt it was a clear winner.