AHEAD Europe 2020 winners announced

by | 18 Nov 2020 | Design, Events

Winners from this year’s AHEAD Europe awards (Pictures: AHEAD)

AHEAD, the Awards for Hospitality Experience and Design, has revealed its winners for the European edition via a digital ceremony on the AHEAD and Dezeen websites.

The event was the final regional event of the year, before the winners from 2019-2020 compete head-to-head in a completely new set of categories at AHEAD Global from 8-10 December.

Winners at this year’s AHEAD Europe included The Standard, London, which took home an impressive five accolades including in the Bar, Club or Lounge; Hotel Conversion; Lobby & Public Spaces; and Restaurant categories, before going on to scoop the coveted Hotel of the Year trophy. Apfelhotel, situated in Saltusio in Italy, was awarded best Guestrooms and best Spa & Wellness, while Birch in Hertfordshire collected the prizes for Visual Identity and New Concept of the Year.

As with all AHEAD Europe events, the evening would not have been the same without a theme. So, for 2020, in keeping with the year of the mask, a Virtual Masquerade theme encouraged supporters to dress up with their peers and organise online Zoom parties to watch the webcast as a collective.

Following the webcast, the audience headed to Instagram for AHEAD’s red-carpet afterparty. Sleeper’s editor-at-large Guy Dittrich spoke to award winners and distributed prizes to the best dressed and those with the most creative, most humorous and most stylish disguises.

“In these challenging times for the travel sector, we were delighted to have this opportunity to recognise the best in hospitality experience and design. The awards provided a timely reminder of all that is great about our industry,” commented awards director Amy Wright.

“We built on the success of our earlier AHEAD Asia webcast by pivoting to digital with an extended programme, incorporating conversations with our judges, acceptance speeches from our winners filmed across the continent, and video content from our sponsors. We were also thrilled to bring this online event to a wider audience thanks to our partnerships with TOPHOTELPROJECTS and Dezeen.”

See the full list of winners here:


Bar, Club or Lounge

Double Standard at The Standard, London, England

Featuring interiors inspired by London’s infamous underground system, the Double Standard bar acts as the main welcome to the hotel’s ground-floor spaces. Modern and vintage furniture pieces work in harmony to create ‘a warm energy’ that bewitches guests into staying for hours on end.


Apfelhotel, Saltusio, Italy

Praised for having a ‘smart layout, exceptional attention to detail and generous textures’, the noa*-designed guestrooms at Apfelhotel impressed judges with their clever use of ‘zoning’ – providing the guest with separate areas from which to sleep, work or relax.

Hotel Conversion

The Standard, London, England

The Standard’s second prize of the night was for Hotel Conversion. Judges applauded Archer Humphryes Architects and Shawn Hausman Design for their ‘great intervention’ of an existing building, which transformed what was once seen as an eye-sore into ‘a modern, relevant and distinctive’ hotel.

Hotel Newbuild

Lindley Lindenberg, Frankfurt, Germany

Judges appreciated the way the open façade at Lindley Lindenberg reflected the hotel’s ethos, describing it as ‘the soul projecting out into the neighbourhood’, which ‘fills you with anticipation and curiosity’ upon approaching it. The playful use of colour, space and lighting is indicative of its atmosphere and provides guest with that ‘warm and welcoming feeling’.



Hotel Renovation & Restoration

Château de Vignée, Villers-sur-Lesse, Belgium

WeWantMore’s art of storytelling immediately captured the judging panel: ‘the renovation of the Belgian Ardennes hunter’s hotel into a luxurious boutique has been executed beautifully,’ remarked one judge. The designers respected the existing structures of the building while creating ‘rich, sumptuous’ interiors and injecting light humour into the spaces with carefully selected taxidermy pieces.


Landscaping & Outdoor Spaces

The Newt in Somerset, England

Defined as the crowning glory of the estate, The Newt’s sprawling gardens – designed by Italo-French architect Patrice Taravella – impressed judges with their sheer size, variety of traditional and contemporary features, and the fact they are open to the public in order to give back to the community.



Lobby & Public Spaces

The Lobby Lounge at The Standard, London, England

The design of The Standard’s Lobby Lounge cleverly pays homage to its previous life as a library for Camden Council, channelling a ‘cosy yet vibrant’ atmosphere where guests can steal themselves away and get lost in literature, or meet friends to shoot the breeze over a few cocktails.

Lodges, Cabins & Tented Camps

Casa Palerm, Mallorca

Casa Palerm is the extension of an existing hotel in the rural countryside of Mallorca. The judges admired the property for its ‘exquisite blending of interior and exterior’ – highlighting the wattle pergola that shades the semi-outdoor centre of the house – and were blown away by its ‘wonderful vistas’.


Domes Zeen Chania, Greece

Described by the judges as a ‘standout project with a true sense of place’, Domes Zeen Chania ‘oozes warmth, charm and personality’. An earthy colour palette, natural textures and neutral materials were used throughout to exude Bohemian luxury and ensure it blended effortlessly within its Cretan setting.


Decimo at The Standard, London, England

The Standard’s fourth accolade went to its Decimo restaurant. Located on the tenth floor of the hotel, the venue boasts floor-to-ceiling windows with enchanting views of the London skyline. One judge described the interiors as ‘a refreshing piece of theatre’, while another highlighted the ‘perfectly paired menu’ and ‘soothing colour scheme’ as key elements of the restaurant’s holistic experience.

Spa & Wellness

Apfelhotel, Saltusio, Italy

Translating to ‘Water Well House’, Apfelhotel’s new wellness centre is nestled into the landscape of the Italian Alps. The northside entrance of Brunnenhaus is built out of sight into a natural green slope and is juxtaposed by a southside façade constructed from glass and steel. Judges agreed that the spa was ‘beautifully executed with rigour, restraint and an eye for detail’.


Ekies All Senses Resort, Vourvourou, Greece

The inspiration behind Ekies’ new suites came from nearby monasteries and the calmness they exude. A ‘less is more’ design approach was taken, with emphasis placed on natural materials – from organic curtain fabrics to beds and pillows set against solid wood furnishings and nude concrete ceilings.

Visual Identity

Birch, Cheshunt, England

The design brief for Birch’s Hertfordshire debut was to create a language that truly reflected the vibrant energy found within the property. The judges described its visual identity as ‘refreshing, unexpected and fun’, and commended those involved for activating the interior spaces with a sense of humour.

New Concept

Birch, Cheshunt, England

A lifestyle hotel for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of London, Birch is housed in a former De Vere Theobalds Estate Hotel and spins hospitality on its head. The owners have built a community within which patrons can be themselves, meet like-minded people and disconnect from the daily life.

The judges agreed that ‘the concept is authentic’ and cannot wait to see how the brand expands.

AHEAD MEA Hotel of the Year

The Standard, London, England

The grand prize of the night was awarded to The Standard, a transformation of the former Camden Town Hall Annex in Kings Cross. One judge described the 1970s punk narrative as ‘an avalanche on the senses’, while another believed the property was ‘exactly what the London hotel scene needed’.


The organisers of AHEAD would like to thank all sponsors for their support, as well as partners Sleeper Magazine, TOPHOTELPROJECTS and Dezeen for sharing the winners broadcast with their audiences.


This is a press release from the organiser of the AHEAD awards.



AHEAD celebrates the relentless pursuit of the exceptional in the hospitality industry. The awards recognise design in all its forms, and the guest experiences created in hospitality projects worldwide.