Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

August 24 + 25, 2021
Wellness, Evolution of Lifestyle Takes Centerstage at HD Expo 2019
by Semhal Tekeste

America’s largest hospitality design event continues to break the tradeshow mold with

innovative exhibitions and over 100 inspiring speakers

LAS VEGAS (May 29, 2019) – HD Expo, the premier tradeshow and conference for hospitality design, brought wellness and sustainability to the forefront with the introduction of a Wellness Pavilion during its most recent event, staged May 15 – 17, 2019, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Thousands of attendees dropped by to hear from industry experts and startups alike about the influential $4.2 trillion industry—from new trends and innovative sustainable materials meeting the demands of health-minded consumers to how designers and operators are introducing an all-encompassing level of immersive design.

“The wellness industry is one of the fastest growing affecting all aspects of design—hospitality, workplace, residential, and retail,” says Stacy Shoemaker Rauen, vice president of the Hospitality Design  Group and editor in chief of Hospitality Design magazine. “Wellness has been top of mind for us at the magazine (our entire March/April issue was devoted to the topic), and we wanted to make sure this important topic took centerstage at this year’s show.” 

In a rare appearance, Sydell Group Founder and CEO Andrew Zobler delivered the keynote address on the second day of the expo, where he discussed the future of lifestyle hotels while highlighting the evolution of Sydell Group’s top brands, including the recently opened NoMad Las Vegas. He was just one highlight of the more than 100 speakers who graced the stage at this year’s show, also tackling the meaning of lifestyle today and other such important topics as new brands to know, trends in restaurant design, the evolution of experiential travel, and development updates. Some of the veterans and rising stars who spoke included Neil Jacobs, Six Senses; Clodagh, Clodagh Design; Calvin TsAO & McKOWN; Brad Wilson, Ace Hotels; Mari Balestrazzi, Hyatt Hotels; Huxley Hogeboom, Equinox Hotels; Alessandro Munge, Studio Munge; Margaret McMahon, Wimberly Interiors; Nate Siehr, Marriott; Allison Reid, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants; Christina Zimmer, Highgate Hotels; Molly Swyers, 21c Museum Hotels; Mike Fuerstman, Pendry Hotels; and Kfir Levy, Habitas. 

The Box Design Challenge continued the conversation by challenging 11 top design firms to design andcreate the next best in lifestyle guestrooms. On the heels of last year’s success, Hospitality Design magazine once again partnered with Hilton to host this exciting competition onsite, eventually naming Urban Robot the winner after a grueling 24-hour design period. Other impressive design firms such as Curioso, Gulla Jonsdottir Architecture and Design, HBA, OfficeUntitled and Stonehill Taylor took part in the fast-paced design challenge. The winning design—an indoor-outdoor abode decided upon by Bobby Berk, star of Queer Eye ; Anthony Melchiorri, Ageo Hospitality and former star of Hotel Impossible ; Larry Traxler, Hilton; and Daniel Wade, Plaza LV—will be built out and revealed at HD Expo 2020, with exclusive behind-the-scenes content featured throughout the year on the HD Expo’s website. Click here for a short video recap of the design and judging process. 

HD Expo’s Best Booth Award winners were a celebration of creativity across categories, including Best Insta Moment winner POLaRT, Most Creative use of Product in a Booth winner LDF Silk, and Best of Show winner Old Hickory Furniture Co., Inc. Selecting the winners were j udges Andrew Alford, Graduate Hotels; Barrie Borovsky and Nicole Fournier, MGM Resorts; and Siobhan Barry, Gensler. Phillip Jeffries, Viso Lighting, and Valley Forge Fabrics were also among the winners. 

Other key sessions, areas, and activations at HD Expo 2019 included:

The Social Hub: A serene space designed by Rottet Studio and filled with luxurious finishes, sculptural furniture, and sumptuous fabrics, the Social Hub featured leading brand executives, hoteliers, and designers in intimate, 30-minute conversations spread throughout the show. 

Technology Pavilion: Just steps away from the Wellness Pavilion, the Technology Pavilion featured innovative companies currently enhancing the in-room guest experience, including Timeshifter, Fohlio Inc., No Stay and Smart Hotel Systems. ZenSpace sponsored private, tech-enabled pods available for use throughout the show. 

HD/ISHP Owners’ Roundtable: This always sold-out event brought designers, architects, and purchasing firms face-to-face with industry leaders representing some of the world’s most significant brand, ownership, and management groups, including Davidson Hotels, Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, Four Seasons, Rockbridge, Geolo Capital, SBE, and Stormont Hospitality Group. For 10 minutes, the table hosts offered attendees coveted and candid insight on the business of design, including upcoming developments, company initiatives, and their industry outlook, before rotating to the next table. 

The HD Passport Cash Giveaway: Lindsey Johnson, Sera Architects, took home $10,000 as the winner of the first HD Passport Cash Giveaway. Each attendee was given a passport at registration and tasked with collecting stamps from nine sponsoring exhibitors. All completed passports were entered into a drawing held on the last day, which was a fun and exciting way to close out the 2019 event. 

“The energy at HD Expo was inspiring and extremely positive. The exhibitors showcased great new product, and attendees really embraced the size and boldness of the event, appreciating the ability to create an experience geared specifically towards their own professional goals,” said Kevin Gaffney, Group Show Director, HD Expo. 

With attendance up over last year and over 80 percent of the show floor already sold for 2020, HD Expo continues to lead in driving industry innovation, knowledge, and inspiration. For other conference highlights and product spotlights, visit . 

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About Hospitality Design Magazine and HD Awards

Published 11 times a year, Hospitality Design magazine is the premier trade outlet and voice for the hospitality design industry. It serves owners, operators, brands, purchasing agents, interior designers, and architects involved in the design of hotels, resorts, restaurants, nightlife, spas, and all other hospitality-oriented projects. Hospitality Design magazine continues its 37-year mission to connect and enrich the industry through innovative projects, inspiring products, the latest trends, development spotlights, and interesting interviews with some of the industry’s leading professionals.

For more information, visit . Hospitality Design ( HD ) magazine’s HD Awards is now in its 15th year, the leading hospitality design competition that celebrates the best in both project and product design. The HD Awards has a total of 24 categories in project design and 11 in product design, and is the only competition to celebrate the architects, designers, owners, and manufacturers behind their innovative work. Each of the winners and finalists will be featured in the June 2019 issue of Hospitality Design magazine and honored at an event in New York on June 5th, 2019 at Cipriani 25 Broadway.


Alex Poller |

Danielle Mayer |