Just two months ago, P&O revealed Iona as the name of their 2020 vessel – the largest ship ever dedicated to the British market.
And the line has just revealed that renowned hotel and hospitality design experts, Richmond International, are designing all of the accommodation options onboard Iona.
The 5,200-passenger ship will also introduce a brand-new style of accommodation in the conservatory balcony cabin. Its versatile conservatory-style room forms an extension to the cabin.
Guests can keep the area closed of a morning for a quiet coffee overlooking the ocean, or open the room out fully to the balcony of an evening if they wish.
The Aft and Forward Suites offer guests ultimate relaxation in a boutique-hotel haven with elegant furnishings and a range of exclusive suite services, including a personal butler.
Iona’s balcony cabins offer guests four options (deluxe, balcony, single and standard) with built-in sleeping arrangements that maximise space whilst catering for larger groups.
Onboard Iona, guests will find porthole mirrors, blue feature walls, soft furnishings and accessories in gold and white textiles.
Read the exclusive interview with Richmond director, Terry McGillicuddi, below for more details on Iona’s interior spaces…
1- You’ve worked with P&O before- in what way does Iona’s design brief differ?
The Richmond team were the interior architects for all the public areas and guest cabins onboard P&O‘s Britannia, and we were invited to work with P&O Cruises again to design some of the public areas, aswell as the accommodation for Iona.
Britannia’s interior design concept was based around the brief of a ‘5 star hotel at sea’ whereas Iona’s direction is ‘British contemporary luxury’. We’re focussing on a seaside feel and embracing the concept of ‘sea as the star’.
Aft Suite Bathroom
How important is it to get the cabins right?
Guests spend a lot of time in their cabins- sleeping, dressing, relaxing- so it’s particularly important to ensure the rooms have good storage solutions, great lighting and control, quality furniture and materials and an excellent level of personal comfort.
What is the design mood for Iona’s cabins?
The mood is contemporary and stylish, yet with a sense of fun and being at ease- we want the space to create a relaxed holiday feeling.
At heart, there’s a classic nautical mood with clean lines, a core colour palette in white, sands and natural hues complemented by accessories and soft furnishings in navy blue and gold.
The interior aesthetic celebrates the sea and light with decorative touches such as the contemporary porthole mirror collection on a feature light-blue wall behind the beds.
The conservatory balcony cabins are new to P&O Cruises. Can you tell us more about them?
They create an exciting addition to Iona’s accommodation options. We’ve created a personal, versatile, outdoor/indoor room that can be an extension of the room- a space to either relax or entertain in.
This space can be closed off in a morning for guests to enjoy a quiet early morning ‘coffee moment’ while everyone is still asleep. The Conservatory balcony area can then open fully and directly onto the balcony to provide the connection with the sea.
It creates a cool, shaded area to chill out in by the day. In the evenings, it can transform into a space for private celebrations or a social zone for pre-dinner drinks with friends and family.
What will make Iona’s suites distinctive?
Iona’s suite design takes its cues from creating the feeling of being in a luxurious haven- contemporary, comfortable and elegant rooms with interconnecting doors that can be fully opened to create a larger studio ambience.
The light colour palette is smooth and sophisticated: sands, beiges, whites and neutrals are complemented by light and dark wood finishes and soft furnishings and accessories in rich mustards and gold.
Aft Suite Bedroom
The impressive bathrooms offer double sinks set in unit of stunning dark marbles- a striking contrast to the wider use of elegant white marble and tiling within the space.
All Suites also have direct access to large balconies, personal dressing zones, and in-cabin dining facilities. Of course, Suites also come with a range of exclusive services to complete the luxurious holiday experiences, including a personal butler.
Aft Suite Lounge
What’s the most challenging aspect of the build?
It is achieving the client’s vision and the guest’s expectations in both the design and budget. The final design must create surprise and excitement for the guest but also address their day-to-day functional requirements and comfort.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of the cabin phase of design and build?
I am always amazed that every design induces a different emotion on completion of a mock-up. The mock-up phase is extremely important to the project process.
The Iona mock-up cabins achieved a positive response and won the approval of the client team in May this year with the wonderful ambience and sense of comfort that we’d created.
Obviously some adjustments are then necessary before the final sign-off, but this mock-up phase is incredibly exciting. It’s the first celebration landmark for the project team and a key pointer to the successful vision that has been created.
What do you think of Iona’s cabins? Which would you pick for your cruise? Are you glad you’ve read the exclusive Q&A? Leave us your comments below!
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