FAQ

What are the 24 Gold Key Award categories?
  1. ECO-CONSCIOUS OR SOCIALLY-CONSCIOUS HOTEL
  2. LOBBY FOCUSED SERVICE
  3. LOBBY MIDSCALE
  4. LOBBY UPPER MIDSCALE
  5. LOBBY UPSCALE
  6. LOBBY LUXURY
  7. GUESTROOM FOCUSED SERVICE
  8. GUESTROOM MIDSCALE
  9. GUESTROOM UPPER MIDSCALE
  10. GUESTROOM UPSCALE
  11. GUESTROOM LUXURY
  12. SUITE
  13. NIGHTCLUB/LOUNGE
  14. EMERGING HOTEL CONCEPT: THE MOST INFLUENTIAL NEW HOTEL BRAND (MUST HAVE AT LEAST ONE HOTEL OPEN)
  15. RESTAURANT CASUAL DINING
  16. RESTAURANT FINE DINING
  17. BEST SPECIALTY DESIGN: CASINOS, CRUISE SHIPS, SPAS, FITNESS/WELLNESS FACILITIES, HOTEL RETAIL, POP-UPS, GLAMPING, ETC.
  18. RESORT
  19. SENIOR LIVING
  20. HOTEL FOCUSED SERVICE
  21. HOTEL MIDSCALEHOTEL
  22. UPPER MIDSCALE
  23. HOTEL UPSCALE
  24. HOTEL LUXURY
What are the category descriptions for Focused Service, Midscale, Upper Midscale, Upscale, and Luxury?

Focused Service

These hotels are typically at the lower end of the rate spectrum in their markets and provide no-frills services (usually there is no concierge; no bell staff; no turn-down service, etc.). There may be a limited range of facilities. Most do not have full-service restaurants; however, some do have grab-n-go, free breakfast, a bar or other marketplace F&B offerings. Although most of our entries do have en suite bathrooms, projects are still eligible if they have shared bath/shower facilities. Although some focused-service properties have higher room counts, the general footprint includes less than 200 rooms.  

Midscale

Hotels in this sector offer a wider range of amenities on-property and in-room, more guest services and more extensive F&B offerings, such as a full-service restaurant and are likely to have some sort of meeting or conference space. Reception and the other public rooms will be more spacious and the restaurant and coffee bar (or marketplace) will normally also cater to non-residents as well as guests. All guestrooms will have fully en suite bathrooms.  

Upper Midscale

Positioned between standard midscale properties and upscale hotels, these properties generally feature a broader range of F&B, upgraded FF&E, and are more likely to include a menu of amenity spaces and higher-end guestroom finishes.  

Upscale

This sector features higher end FF&E, a full menu of hotel services, and dedicated amenity spaces. F&B offers tend to be more sophisticated, both in terms of their restaurants and bars/nightspots. Guestrooms typically are larger and have a higher mix of FF&E. Guest bathroom is more likely to include upgraded fixtures and accessories.  

Luxury

Hotels in this sector should offer find spacious and luxurious accommodation throughout the hotel, matching the best international standards. Interior design should impress with its quality and attention to detail, comfort, and elegance. Services should be formal, well supervised, and flawless in attention to guests’ needs. The restaurant will demonstrate a high level of technical skill, producing dishes to the highest international standards. Staff will be knowledgeable, helpful, well versed in all aspects of customer care, combining efficiency with courtesy.

What are the requirements for entries in the emerging Hotel Concept category?

Submissions should include a description of the design intent of the brand, including the basic design pillars of the program, an explanation of the brand’s mission statement, and a description of its target market. The submitting firm should detail what it brought to the process of developing a look for the brand and describe the collaboration between the firm and the brands’ operations and design and construction teams. Submissions should be supported with collateral such as graphics, logos, and any other visual components of the brand identity. To be eligible, the entry must include interior shots of a property that is open. Concepts that only have renderings will not be considered.

What qualifies for best emerging Hotel Concept?

Entries must represent a hotel brand launched within the past two years, with at least one hotel open. The brand can be independent or a new offering from a multi-brand parent company, but must be able to demonstrate intent to scale. Must have an active pipeline, even if contracts are pending as of August 2021. This can be a hard or soft brand, can be positioned in any sector and can include shared or hostel-style accommodation.

My project has room types that span several price points. What category do I enter it in?

In this case, submissions should be guided by the sector in which the majority of the inventory falls. For example, if a 100-room hotel has four shared rooms, it should be entered based on the category of the private rooms, but if a hostel has a handful of private rooms, the shared ones would dictate the correct category.

I'm entering a branded property. Due to any of a number of factors, including location and competitive set, its positioning dose not match the brand architecture of the parent company. Where do I enter it?

We ask that all submitters defer to the corporate brand architecture, unless the operator and owner have approved the project’s entry into a different category.  

The hotel I'm submitting straddles two different star/sector ratings. Which do I use?

For independent properties, please defer to the client’s and the hotel’s preferred designation.

What distinguishes between restaurant casual dining and restaurant fine dining categories

Casual dining applies to an F&B outlet with counter or table service and a menu that sits at the more affordable end of its market. This category also includes grab-n-go and limited-service specialty venues such as tea, coffee, or dessert spots. Fine dining describes a restaurant with tableside service and a higher price point.

What entries are eligble for the speciality design category?

These projects should be those that do not clearly fall under any of the above categories. Entries can be casinos, spas/wellness facilities, pop-ups, hotel retail spaces, cruise ships, outdoor dining facilities and structures newly created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and others. They may encompass a range of sizes and footprints—no project is too big or small.

Additional questions? 

Contact Katie Kervin, Senior Managing Editor, Boutique Design magazine.