LET’S MEET UPSTAIRS
What do the former Royal Astor Hotel and the brand-new Upstairs Hotel have in common? Great question! Nothing, actually. Well, aside from the location – an elegant property in Ostend’s Hertstraat, just a short stroll away from the beach. The former Royal Astor Hotel was a traditional hotel, designed for the English tourist market. It belonged to a dated narrative, in a setting that was also on the decline. The new owners bought the building intending to strip it back to the bone and develop a new concept with it. That’s where skinn came in.
A new hotel in town
A completely new target group was defined for the new concept’s development. Upstairs Hotel was to become a home to unconventional travellers, for a much younger target group as well. A sound strategic process yielded a clear path forward. Upstairs Hotel was destined to become a unique urban getaway in the centre of a vibrant seaside resort, the ‘Queen of Seaside Resorts’. The metamorphosis was profound, a radical break from the past where everything had to change.
Only the shell remained. During the construction of a totally new urban hotel concept, a new, young, and trendy story was penned, a brand story permeating every square metre, down to the smallest joint. The approach was holistic, down to the last detail, so that it encompasses far more than the mere development of a visual identity for a new hotel. Skinn took charge of every touchpoint in this new story. From the architecture to the interior to the furnishing, all the way down to the materials, style and communication tools – skinn drew everything from a blank slate.
A playful, urban world has lurked behind the stately black facade in Ostend’s Hertstraat, since the hotel’s opening in the summer of 2018. When you walk into the lobby, you are immediately inundated by an interior replete with wood, metal, concrete and green accents. The rich diversity of natural materials was meticulously selected by skinn’s designers.
The ground floor was transformed into a cosy hub in the heart of the city. Hire a conference room, get down to business in a co-working spot, play a game of ping-pong, or simply kick back and relax in a lounge chair with a view of the breathtaking slide – the sky’s the limit. The old swimming pool was renovated into an exceptional presentation area. Plays can even be performed in the ‘pit’.
The interior concept and a mix of typeface designs are the foundation of the Upstairs Hotel’s visual identity. This has been incorporated in every touchpoint, from the design of each room to the development of the website.
You look gorgeous today
The whole building underwent a complete metamorphosis. Today, guests can enjoy breakfast in a room that works perfectly as a hip and trendy restaurant. The concept as a whole extends all the way up to the top floor. Its 96 renovated rooms make Upstairs one of Ostend’s largest hotels. The room types have been named after the different sizes of the Upstairs font: small, medium, large and extra-large. Each room was dealt with and decorated separately, all based on the same visual style.
Inspirational one-liners, scattered throughout, lend the whole a dynamic vibe rarely found in the hotel industry. The yellow letter ‘U’ has become a landmark of seaside Ostend, but that’s not all. The new hotel boosted the revival of one of Ostend’s forgotten corners. Since then, the whole neighbourhood has changed. But the biggest change of all is in the hotel’s cards. That this used to be the stuffy old Royal Astor, the favourite holiday haunt of the English, has now been wiped from memory. Upstairs Hotel is a magnet for young tourists, and the owners are already brainstorming plans for launching Upstairs hotels in other cities.