HOLLAND, MI – Walking into the lobby of the newly-reopened Haworth Hotel on the Hope College campus feels like you’ve stepped into a bit of a community gathering place, blended with a little slice of Europe.
On a recent day, students and downtown walkers seeking a caffeine fix were hovering near the new Biggby coffee bar, while down a short hallway a few people with open laptops were working at drop-in work stations. At the far end of the building, workers were shuttling in and out of the freshly-redone ballroom, arranging glasses and tableware for a weekend wedding celebration.
And just up the spiral staircase that rises as the lobby’s centerpiece, guests were checking into some of the 47 rooms – and one suite – which have been completely redone as part of a massive $7.5 million overhaul meant to turn a campus hotel into a design showcase.
Fans of Milan-based designer and architect Patricia Urquiola will notice her touches throughout the property – from the lighting tucked out of sight that smartly illuminates the guest rooms right down to the new bedding designs, textured wallpaper and furniture choices. The property’s design team believes Haworth Hotel will be a destination stop for Urquiola’s devotees who want to immerse themselves in spaces she has designed. The multi-story hotel is not only a place bearing Urquiola’s signature touch, but it also serves as a living showroom for a stylish cross-section of pieces from Haworth’s eight furniture brands.
“We have an Italian designer here in Michigan,” said Kurt Vander Schuur, global brand director for Haworth, during a recent tour of the hotel. “It really is a dream come true.”
Read on to get a peek inside the hotel and some of its newly-designed spaces.
The Haworth family and their namesake Holland-based furniture company have been involved in the Hope College property since it opened more than 20 years ago. When it was time for a deep refresh, Haworth knew it wanted Urquiola’s talent leading the way. The renovation included all the guest rooms, creation of a special suite and attached private dining room, 14 conference spaces, the ballroom, and a spacious lobby with a built-in coffee shop.
The lobby is where all their plans overlap in a stylish community gathering spot, said Vander Schuur, who had a hand in decisions big and small for this project. It’s an area where locals, students and guests cross paths as they grab coffee, use the drop-in work spots or relax in some of the larger social spaces.
“It’s designed to be a natural mixer area,” he said.
The conference spaces throughout the hotel can be reserved to accommodate groups large or small. Some are cozy, just big enough for a handful of people. Others are generously sized to host all-day work sessions. Hope College’s AV team did a high-tech renovation of the hotel to guarantee every screen’s digital images are crisp and the cameras mounted atop screens can work for video chats and hybrid-style meetings.
“We just put a lot of amenities in these rooms so people can configure them how they want them,” Vander Schuur said. The art displayed on the conference room walls was done by Hope College professors.
The social spaces that flow from the lobby toward the ballroom are designed to give people lots of room to spread out, whether they are there for an event or not. The ballroom with its wall of windows overlooking the heart of Hope’s campus now features new carpet designed by Urquiola and globe-style chandelier lighting from Haworth. Another new twist for this ballroom event space? Beer and wine can now be served here. In this part of Holland, it’s a game-changer.
The stylish touches don’t stop when guests leave the first floor, Vander Schuur said as he led a small group into guest rooms as well as the newly reconfigured top-floor suite and an adjoining private dining area. This can be closed off for separate uses.
He pointed out specific pieces of furniture made in Italy, as well as soft, comfy chairs handcrafted in Grand Rapids. Stepping into the large suite, he motioned to the soft cove lighting that illuminated the wall above his head. “You don’t see the light. You feel the light.”
Members of the project team, who typically travel a lot for business, had good insights about the design and where items should be placed to make things easier for guests. From convenient plug-in spots for tech devices to easy places to stash luggage, every detail was intentional, they said.
Like all the little touches you see in the guest rooms? There are QR codes you can scan to find out more about the products.
“Everybody thinks Haworth is just desks and chairs and office furniture, but this is all us,” Vander Schuur said, surveying the suite with a smile.
For more details about the Haworth Hotel, its rooms and event space, check the website here.
If you’re an interior design aficionado looking for details on the products featured in the space, here’s a rundown: Cassina, Cappellini, Poltrona Frau and JANUS et Cie. Haworth partner brands include lighting by Pablo Designs, rugs by GAN and textiles by Kvadrat.
Ready to see more of Michigan’s newly-designed hotel and B&B spaces? Read it here: