Maldives in the Museum

When we pitched for the opportunity to plan the opening celebration of a new Maldivian Hotel during World Travel Week, we knew there was only one London venue that would do...The Natural History Museum.

The museum’s valuable work, and its links with conservation and biodiversity made this iconic building a perfect fit for the London launch because of how passionately Westin feel about environmental sustainability. In fact even down to the architecture of the Miriandhoo hotel the entire concept is a pragmatic approach to the environment and conservation. Hope, the Blue Whale skeleton that suspends from the ceiling of Hintz Hall serves as a reminder of humanity’s responsibility to protect our planet.

So, how do you turn a landmark historic London museum into the tropical Maldives? Here is how we did it…

Well, Well, Well!

Our aim was to bring to life the haven of the Westin Maldives experience by relaxing and rejuvenating the guests through a number of authentic and immersive experiences. We continually emphasised the brand pillars of “Sleep Well, Move Well, Eat Well, Feel Well, Play Well and Work well,” whilst still communicating the essence of the Westin Maldives property.  

What an Entrance!

The guests first saw this incredible bespoke ice wall that took over 3 weeks to produce. Our florist worked on the design with Ice Box and placed tropical flowers in the water to freeze.

The Arrival Jetty

The guests then arrived at the Fossils of Britain where we created a jetty from a steel walkway clad in white washed wood, wooden posts, and two wooden plinths with huge tropical displays. We ran blue ripple strip lights underneath the decking to replicate arriving at the Westin Maldives Miriandhoo where guests would walk above the serene turquoise ocean. The guests then stepped from the jetty and arrived at the ‘resort.’ 

Fossil Way into Barefoot Luxury

Fossil Way is a long space with beautiful beams and characteristics. We took advantage of these details by up-lighting the arches in a golden sunset colour. To add further atmosphere and texture, we projected a palm leaf pattern wash design on the floor to reflect the lush greenery within the resort. This bringing of the outdoors in was purposefully done to reflect Barefoot, which is the main reception at the hotel.

At the bar we served fresh coconut cocktails that were machete chopped before the guests eyes, with recipes provided by Westin Miriandhoo Resort, to promote Westin’s ‘Eat Well’ philosophy. Rhubarb also circulated champagne and vibrant canapés inspired by the sunshine. It was important to us that every detail, down to the bespoke trays that served the food and champagne, reflected the vision and environment of the Maldives Miriandhoo resort.

Either side of the bar we placed pots painted in a natural finish, filled with leafy palm and banana leaf arrangements creating an installation of lush tropical greenery on either side. We also dressed the bar itself with large palm leaves.

The music came courtesy of Riff Shop - a sax, percussion and DJ trio who will be performing at the hotel for their New Year’s Eve Party. Their upbeat contemporary set of funk and house created an amazing party atmosphere, as well as reflecting the vibe of the resort. 

Hintze Hall to Tropical Paradise with floristry and light

As guests moved through to Hintze Hall our florist Mary Jane Vaughan set up a living photo wall that was designed with Westin logo’s and hashtag above head height. MJV provided textured tropical greenery/foliage with clusters of bark wrap vases in different heights for either side at the base of the wall

Echoing the island’s natural shapes as well as the hotel’s luxurious and sustainable feel, we created a luxurious Maldivian feel in Hintze Hall, through a mixture of props and natural materials. On the end of the bannisters our Mary Jane Vaughan placed two large arrangements of palms with a scattering of white orchids. To further replicate the island Mary Jane Vaughan created clusters of Palm tree arrangements in the 8 arches around the edge of the hall. Standing 3metres tall these looked magnificent. At their base the palms were dressed with hurricane lamps, driftwood, coconuts and white shells to reflect the nature of the island.

The central feature of the hall, Hope the Whale, was spot lit from above and below in gold colour wash. The effect was a dramatic and poignant illumination of the fossil.

In keeping with our aim to replicate the island, the walls and ceiling were firstly lit with sunset hues of yellow, orange and reds, and throughout the evening, transitioned to a twilight of purples and blues for the evening. Even the flooring was not left out and given a wash of blue with a water ripple effect to reflect the ocean.

To reflect the aesthetic of the Maldives and the hotel we provided a beautiful circular wooden bar which was dressed in a coral reef installation by our florist, bringing the deep sea to life. Either side we placed two infinity sofas whose hollow centres were filled with stunning installations of tropical plants and leaves.

Delicious Maldivian Delights

To take the guests on a suitable gastronomic journey we created four food stations. Two in a wooden and zinc design and two in a white wooden top design set in different arches. Here, rhubarb showcased four unique food stations, each one reflected the hotel’s exceptional dining experience in each of their 4 restaurants, whilst ensuring a dedication to balance and health. The stalls provided not only beautiful food but also elements of surprise, drama and theatre to delight guests.

Island kitchen

This stylish station introduced the international cuisine of its restaurant with authentic Maldivian, Chinese and Indian dishes. This station showcased theatre and drama with live cooking and chefs in action.

Pearl Restaurant

A refined and elegant take on a Japanese sushi bar with the finest, freshest ingredients. Here rhubarb served Katsuo tataki bonito served with ponzu sauce, Octopus and leek with salted yuzu and mirin, Yakibuta pork with spring onion and Salmon teriyaki

Hawker Restaurant

Stylishly crafted street food bites from across the globe were served with authenticity and flair. 

Sunset bar

Colourful tapas and anti-pasti was served from this beautiful station

Pudding Canapes

The delicious puddings on offer included ice cream mochi of coconut, green tea, chocolate and mango and Lychee & raspberry dark chocolate pop. 

Immersive Well-being Experiences

To match the jetty walkway the guests experienced at “check-in”, Wise Productions covered the main stage in bespoke distressed wooden planks with corner posts. Here Riff Shop continued to play as the guests enjoyed the food, drink and immersive experiences of the evening.

Heavenly Spa

We positioned a beautiful Raj Tent Club white pergola at the south end of Hintze Hall against the star cloth. Here, guests were treated to a head or hand massage using the Westin White Tea bath/body oil. A White Tea diffuser was used to arouse the senses, transporting guests to the Maldives, whilst Westin rolled towels and tropical buds represented the spa experience at the resort. 

Floral Workshop

Guests could create a boutonnière or flower crown as a takeaway of their Maldivian experience. A fun interactive activity, Mary Jane Vaughan’s team of florists helped guests to create their own floral hair crowns of brightly coloured flowers.

Running Map

We created an illustrated ‘Running’ map of the entire event within the Natural History Museum, to not only demonstrate Westin’s Run Club and Run Concierge service but to also make guests aware of what there is to see and experience throughout the venue, making sure they didn’t miss any elements.

Heavenly Bed

We also created an immersive heavenly bed photo experience inside one of the archways. Guests were invited to slip off their shoes, walk over water projected onto stepping stones, lie down with an eye mask and listen to an audio of crashing waves whilst having a photo taken from our overarching camera selfie.

The Westin Effect

The event itself secured top tier media from publications including the London Evening Standard, the Metro, Country & Town House, Marie Claire, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, Independent, BBC News, BBC Radio 4 and BRIDES. It also attracted the attention of UK VIP celebrities including Millie Mackintosh and Hugo Taylor. We are extremely proud of this evening and was one of our favourite Golborne challenges to date.

Photo credit: Noah Goodrich, Two by Two