You started your hotel brand in Edinburgh. Why there?
If the Bank of Scotland had offered us Paris or New York or Milan or Rome, it would have been too much to start a new thing. Edinburgh was just the right dimension and it is an important, historic city. The location was interesting, five minutes from the castle on the Royal Mile surrounded by historic buildings and beautiful architecture. It was frightening in a certain way, and at the same time, I decided then to use black and white prints and inject color.
Color is your signature.
Color helps to make life more exciting, especially if it is following certain characteristics, certain traditions of the country. In Edinburgh, the doormen have kilts. They have less color than the regional Scottish kilts—they are black, white, and red, a modern ode to the Scottish tradition. The corridors leading to the rooms are colorful, and we wanted to have colorful furniture—purple in the bathroom, turquoise on the desk. The elevators are a total world of Missoni; they are kind of a secret, something you discover.
What about for Hotel Missoni Kuwait, your newest?
Kuwait is much more colorful. The hotel faces the ocean, and of course patterns are inspired by the traditional souks and markets and all their spices. We covered the ceiling with turquoise fringes as a continuation of the ocean outside. In the restaurant Cucina, we mainly used green and turquoise, and some black here and there. In the ballroom there are huge chandeliers with gold fringes, which help give movement. The pool is really stunning with a garden filled with all kinds of palms and cacti. The doormen wear a kind of kaftan. For that I consulted the Sikhs to see if it was offensive to make the garment since they are always dressed so elegantly in white robes, and they said not at all.
What is your definition of hospitality?
We enjoy hospitality in a very subtle sense. Hospitality is welcoming people so they feel at home. Feeling at home is to be at ease, to feel well, to have a sense, even without being aware, of pleasure. And of course service, without being too much. I don’t want to be called Mrs. Missoni a hundred times. I can’t stand it. I want a good restaurant, and I don’t want to fight with a long menu. I want the menu to change at least four times a year, if possible following the seasons, because every season has different vegetables. I am European, I am used to following seasons with fruits and vegetables. I don’t want to see asparagus at Christmas.
What’s next for you?
We are working on a hotel in Oman, which has a beautiful location on the beach; it’s a lovely country, the nature is very bare, but the sea is beautiful and they grow flowers everywhere. Fingers crossed (we have to get all of the special permits) that we will do one in Salvador, in the Gulf of Salvador. The nature is breathtaking since it is part of a national park. Another place we are looking is Turkey.