Abigail King is the blogger behind award-winning website, Inside the Travel Lab. Focusing on luxury travel with a different perspective, Abi rethinks stereotypes about destinations and family travel as she goes. Before becoming a writer and broadcaster, Abi worked as a hospital doctor in the UK for many years – before swapping her stethoscope for the open road. Since then, she’s worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, National Geographic Traveler and more, interviewing Japanese artists, Nagasaki bomb survivors and even fans of Paddington Bear.
Inside the Travel Lab carries accolades from Vanity Fair, Stylist, Grazia and more and has been described as one of “the best in the world” by National Geographic Traveler, Lonely Planet and the BBC.
We spoke to Abi to find out exactly what she thinks makes a luxury destination and what she’s expecting to come to the forefront in terms of design trends across the hospitality industry.
What made you want to be a judge this year?
I love and appreciate good design and, happily, have won a number of awards recently for my own work. I appreciated the boost and recognition they gave me and so felt it was time to pay back the positive vibes!
What do you think will set an entry apart from the rest?
Great photography and a clear story behind the project, particularly one that ties in to the destination or the issues that an area faces.
What are you looking for in your winners?
Something that looks spectacular, obviously, but that also makes the experience accessible to those with disabilities or those travelling with elderly relatives or young children. Hospitality is only true hospitality when everyone is made to feel welcome.
What do you think will be some key design trends over the next 12 months?
I think the move for more indoor plants will continue, along with the quest for the perfect selfie backdrop. I enjoy the mixed metallic trend (perhaps because my house is so old it has that already!)
I’ve seen some places combine exhibits from world-class museums with their décor and I definitely hope that that will continue.
Is there anything you think is becoming less stylish and sought after in the world of hospitality?
Well, the fax machine doesn’t look to be making a comeback any time soon, although I think receiving a newspaper first thing in the morning will remain a special and rare treat.
What do you personally look for when choosing a venue?
I look for a sense of place and a sense of daring. I don’t always have to like the design but I do like to be surprised – and to feel that someone tried to create something special. I look either for bright white light or a deliberate sense of cosiness. And I love it when I learn something about the destination simply by walking through the door.
To enter your venue in the 2018 Vision Style Awards or to find out more about the prizes and entry requirements, be sure to visit the Vision Style Awards webpage here. Alternatively, why not read our definitive guide on hospitality interiors, our Vision Style Guide here, and your very own venue could be featured next year.