For today's well-heeled traveler, a hotel is not just a place to rest one's head. It's an experience. That's why hotels, as well as dining and entertainment establishments, are reinventing themselves through design. The Gold Key Awards for Excellence in Hospitality Design—presented by the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show—recognize the best of these properties. In its 28th year, the awards program drew a record-breaking 209 submissions that were newly constructed or renovated within the last 18 months. The diversity of the properties ranges from a Southern California suite featuring a dancer's pole to a barbecue joint in Sagaponack, New York.
One prize has already been awarded: Roger Thomas, executive vice president of design for Wynn Design and Development, will receive the Designer of the Year Award from Gold Key cosponsors Interior Design and Hotels magazines. Winners in the eight remaining categories will be chosen by this year's judges— NBBJ principal Jane Ayers, Robert D. Henry Architects principal Robert Henry, InterContinental the Barclay New York general manager Leland Lewis, and Donna Rodriguez, public relations and marketing director of B.R. Guest Restaurants—and announced at the awards breakfast on November 10 at New York's Mandarin Oriental Hotel.