Laura Ashley--yes, the Laura Ashley of chintz and florals--announced plans to open a hotel in Hertfordshire, England on Thursday.
The Guardian reports that the brand spent £5.8m to open the "attraction" for fans of the brand. The hotel's 49 rooms will feature beds, sofas, wallpapers and even curtains in Laura Ashley fabrics, and will become a "brand showcase" when it opens later this year.
CEO Seán Anglim told the paper that this isn't the first time in the brand's 60 years that they have been approached about opening a hotel, saying the concept "has not come out of the blue."
The concept of designer hotels started in 2000, when Donatella Versace opened Palazzo Versace on Australia's Gold Coast, Huffington Post blogger Melanie Nayer points out.
Yet the question remains: Will people want to check into a room made up of Laura Ashley prints? Sure, Missoni, Armani, Bulgaria and Versace all have licensed hotel brands (see slideshow below), but is Laura Ashley on par with the Italian fashion houses?
<a href="http://www.armanihotels.com/" target="_hplink">Giorgio Armani</a>'s first hotel in Dubai made the fashion industry stand up and take notice. Every detail of the hotel was said to be personally chosen by Armani to reflect his specific style and taste.
The rooms and common areas of the Armani hotel are furnished with Armani Casa pieces including oak tables with liquid metal finish, created exclusively for the hotel. Much like the design of his clothes, the rooms are decorated with clean lines, simple colors, and unique textures.
The <a href="http://www.bulgarihotels.com/" target="_hplink">Bulgari Hotels</a> in Milano and Bali feature contemporary design with a classic twist from the famous Italian jeweler. Branded as an "unexpected oasis of exclusive tranquility" the Bulgari rooms are set in historic landmarks and offer guests all the amenities of a luxury property, including private restaurants, pools and service.
The Bulgari rooms were designed by architects Antonio Citterio and Partners, and features rare and precious materials in each room. Black marble and oak provide an intimate setting for the bedrooms, while teak and leather grace the spa and common areas.
The DvF bedrooms at London's <a href="http://www.claridges.co.uk/" target="_hplink">Claridge's Hotel</a> offer a Diane von Furstenberg custom designed cashmere blanket, and all the light fixtures were created exclusively for the rooms using Murano glass. Von Furstenberg put her private touch on the bedrooms with boxes, trinkets and trays that were hand-crafted from her travels. The drapes, linens and dressings are all part of DVF's exclusive textile collection and will be available to consumers later this fall.
Diane von Furstenberg entered iconic status with the invent of the wrap-dress, and now the legendary designer has taken her creations from the catwalk to Claridge's London. Each guestroom features contemporary prints, Chinese florals and animal prints. According to Claridge's, each room was inspired by Diane von Furstenberg's travels.
Opening Winter 2010, <a href="http://www.hotelmissoni.com/" target="_hplink">Hotel Missoni Kuwait</a> is the second property and the first resort to be launched under the Missoni brand. Hotel Missoni Kuwait offers 169 rooms and suites, all of which have sea views and are dressed in a palette of gold, turquoise and beige and are accented with bold, emphatic patterns.
Each guest room has an in-suite bathroom featuring either a bath or a shower with a bench seat, rain shower and handheld shower. Custom-scented Missoni bath amenities were specially created for Hotel Missoni Kuwait.
It's the room that started a frenzy. When the final two episodes of "Sex and the City" were filmed in Paris, Carrie Bradshaw stayed in room 625 of Paris' famed <a href="http://www.plaza-athenee-paris.com/" target="_hplink">Plaza Athénée</a>, now available for those who want live out their Bradshaw-fantasies (Russian not included). A nod to the trendy fashionista, the hotel launched the new Eiffel Suite 361 last year, which comes with its own grand piano, fully-equipped office, and game table. The pieèce de resistance, however, is the enormous dressing room.
The Palazzo Versace Hotel in Australia's Gold Coast are everything you'd expect a Versace room to be. The bathroom sinks are each made from a huge one piece of marble and the rooms are furnished with a special Versace range designed exclusively for the hotel by the House of Versace in Milan.