The brick-and-glass exterior of the Haworth Hotel & Conference Center on the Hope College campus in downtown Holland conceals a stunning surprise. While this lakeshore community boasts a variety of architectural gems — in styles ranging from the traditional Dutch influence to Neoclassical and Queen Anne to Tudor — this newly renovated hotel delivers a refreshingly colorful look and feel.
Award-winning international architect and designer Patricia Urquiola, who has worked with Holland-headquartered Haworth for years, was brought in from Milan, Italy, to turn the collegiate hotel into a boutique showpiece. It’s the first renovation the property has undergone since its opening in 1997; it made its second debut in June 2021 after a 20-month, $7.5-million face-lift.
The Mid-century Modern motif is rich with vibrant hues and patterns that evoke warmth and playfulness, with an undeniable sense of sophistication. At the heart of the transformational redesign is the grand spiral staircase connecting the lobby to the second floor. Designed by Urquiola, who worked with GMB Architecture + Engineering to adapt the design to local codes, it’s reminiscent of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim in New York City.
“The lobby’s spiral staircase was designed to be a striking visual focal point for guests as they enter the lobby, and it also creates a unique backdrop for corporate events, weddings, social media, and more,” notes Dan Tyrer, an architect with GMB.
Upstairs, Urquiola’s signature influence can be found throughout the 48 guest rooms, including the top-floor king room with an adjoining private dining area and three ADA-accessible rooms. Her hand-selected choices for bed coverings, textured wallpaper, and furniture — much of it representing Haworth’s eight furiture brands — create elegant yet approachable spaces. From floor to ceiling, the rooms are masterfully assembled with bathroom fixtures from Kohler, lighting by Pablo Designs, rugs by GAN, and textiles by Kvadrat. Global design elements from Cassina, Cappellini, Poltrona Frau, and JANUS et Cie enhance the spaces, which also include many products designed by Urquiola for Haworth Inc. “The rejuvenation of the property has certainly provided a whole new experience in services and offerings that’s attracting a broader range of clientele than in the past. Many of them haven’t been to the Holland area before,” says Katie Klingenberg, director of sales. “The hotel also has seen an increase in Hope-sponsored collegiate conferences. The fact that we’re located in the heart of downtown is a huge draw for clients. For many of the attendees, we hear that this is their first time in the area and they rave about the Hope campus and all that Holland has to offer. When we build awareness about the hotel, it translates into increased awareness for the college and the Holland area.”
While contemporary, the common spaces are comfortable and inviting, with intimate seating areas and larger social spaces for business meetings or catching up with friends. The upgraded convention center is a sprawling 10,000 square feet, with 14 distinct conference spaces. Additional amenities include an on-site fitness facility, complimentary parking, a Biggby Coffee bar, and a Hope Store with souvenirs and necessities.
While perhaps thought of as a college-exclusive venue, the Haworth Hotel actually draws about 60 percent of its guests from across the state and country. Leisure travelers appreciate its proximity to shopping, dining, and cultural attractions and events such as the city’s award-winning Tulip Time Festival each May.
“We’re fortunate to have the Haworth Hotel just steps from downtown Holland, giving our visitors an opportunity to walk to more than 100 locally owned shops and restaurants, public parks, and arts and entertainment venues,” says Linda Hart, executive director of the Holland Area Visitors Bureau.
Those looking for even more reason to check out this renovated gem should note that the Haworth Hotel is one of only six properties in Michigan currently participating in Stash Hotel Rewards, a loyalty program designed exclusively for independent boutique hotels.
Haworth Hotel & Convention Center
By Dianna Stampfler | Photography by Kendall McCaugherty