This award is exclusively for interior designers. Although we recognize the contributions of all members of the design team in creating award-winning projects, the Gold Key Award for Excellence in Hospitality Design is given only to the interior design firm(s) that worked on the project. We will recognize the names of the other firms such as architects, lighting designers, etc. in the copy PROVIDED THAT the interior design firm submitting the entry lists them on the form.

All entries must provide a complete supplier list, detailed client information and photo release form if selected as a finalist. Submission MUST list ALL interior design firms who had a role in the project. Please make sure the photography is relevant to the specific category. As an example, when submitting for a guest room category, do not include public spaces, suites, function spaces, etc. Only the “best of” hotel categories should include the entire hotel, both interiors and exteriors.

Please make sure the entry fits the category. The judges reserve the right to change categories for a submission; the submitter will be notified in those cases. Our FAQs outline the definitions for each hotel sector or restaurant type, from budget/focused service to luxury and casual to fine dining, respectively. When submitting in multiple categories, please ensure that all submissions are within the same sector, as in all are midscale or all are upscale.





The project description, floorplan and photographs are reviewed anonymously by the judges. NO images with watermarks, logos or trademark will be accepted.


Do not include the name of the design firm in the file names. Please only include the project name (i.e.: Hotel California.jpg), location and/or the description of the document being uploaded (i.e.: Hotel California Angeles_Description.doc).


All hospitality newbuilds, renovations and conversions completed from JULY 1, 2019 to JULY 31, 2020 are eligible for the 2020 competition. Each entry must be submitted using this official online entry form with the following:
1. Completed official online entry form and the $205 entry fee. You may submit a project in more than one category. However, a separate, completed entry form and entry fee are required for each project submitted. Fees are non-refundable and must accompany each project. Projects submitted in a previous year are ineligible.
2. A minimum 300-word Word document with a description of the project including the property’s official and complete name, its location (city and country), opening date for newbuilds; date of completion for renovations and conversions; owner company’s name and location, room count for hotels or total covers for restaurants and a brief summary of the principal features, i.e. design intent, challenges, resources and budget (if available) and which aspects of the project demonstrate excellence and thought leadership in the concept and execution.
3. Floorplan of the property. File must be formatted as a tiff, jpeg or PDF. Max file size is 10 Mb.
4. List of all firms involved in the design/installation of the project including but not limited to: the project owner or developer; operator; restaurant operator/chef; the architect of record; lighting designer; landscape designer/architect; purchasing agent; other interior design firms; including official and complete firm names and locations (city and country) for each and specifying which area of the project each firm designed. If multiple design firms participated in the project, ALL must be listed to ensure that the submission is eligible. Contact person for the interior designer, including email and direct phone number. Contact person for the interior designer, including email and direct phone number.
6. Minimum of eight (8) high resolution, 8”x 10” (20 cm by 25 cm) at 300 dpi color photos of the interiors (with no people), with the project name and category included in the file name. Images that are not properly identified will not be considered. Each image should also have the name of the space—i.e., Hotel California Lobby. MAX FILE SIZE: 20MB for each image
7. Only images formatted as jpegs or tiffs (300 dpi or higher resolution) will be considered. You will not be able to submit any other types of photo files.
Finalists will be required to submit a completed source list, detailed client information, photo release and design team listing within two weeks of notification in September 2020.

NOTE: Guest room entry (single room) and Suite (room containing a sleeping area and a separate “living” area) must include a photograph of the bathroom; and Best Hotel Luxury, Upscale, Upper Midscale, Midscale, and Budget/Focused Service categories must include photographs of the exterior, public spaces including the reception, lobby/gathering spaces and food and beverage outlets (if applicable) as well as the guest rooms, suites, and guest bathrooms. Shots of spas, function spaces and specialty areas such as nightclubs and outdoor function spaces are also highly encouraged


1. Be sure to prepare your 300 minimum to 450 maximum -word project description (detailed requirements above) and have it ready in a .doc or Microsoft Word format for upload during the application process.
2. Have your project shots (minimum of 8 required) ready to upload. You will also have the opportunity to include (2) additional shots – each file size 20MB.
3. Prepare floorplan of the property. File must formatted as a tiff, jpeg or PDF. Max file size is 10 Mb.
4. Be prepared with contact information from other interior design firm (s), architecture firm(s), purchasing firm(s) and client(s).
*If you are selected as a 2020 finalist, the Gold Key team will follow-up with additional information in early September required for inclusion in Boutique Design magazine’s editorial coverage of the 2020 Gold Key Awards in its 2020/2021 Winter Issue.


• Concept (The overall design narrative)
• Execution (The expertise with which the design vision is brought to life)
• Innovation (What is really new about this work)
• Overall WOW factor (Why this is best in class)

The judges shall examine all the entries submitted by the participants, and name finalists and winners based on scoring from 1 (bland) to 5 (unforgettable) in addition to an in-person judging session.


Liability for breach of third-party rights
Any infringement of third-party rights, including patent, trademark, copyright or other right is the exclusive responsibility of the Awards entrant. By submitting an entry, you (a) represent and warrant that you own the exclusive rights and/or have obtained all necessary third-party consents to submit all content, including any images, photography, logos or multimedia, for consideration, (b) grant Sponsor and its designees, licensees or affiliates a fully paid, worldwide license to use, distribute, display, reproduce, publish, republish and create derivative works of the entry in any media now or hereafter known, including but not limited to, print or digital publication in Hospitality Design magazine and (c) agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Sponsor and its partners, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising agencies, agents and their employees, officers, directors, and representatives from any and all third-party claims arising from the entry and use of any such images submitted in connection with the competition.
By participating, participants release and agree to hold harmless Sponsor, its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies and all of their respective directors, officers, employees, representatives and agents from any and all liability for any injury, loss or damage of any kind to persons (including, without limitation, death) or property, arising directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from or in connection with the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any prize, participation in this competition, or any competition-related activity. NOTWITHSTANDING THE FOREGOING, IN THE EVENT THAT THE PRECEDING RELEASE IS DETERMINED BY A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION TO BE INVALID OR VOID FOR ANY REASON, THE PARTICIPANT AGREES THAT, BY ENTERING THE COMPETITION, (I) ANY CLAIMS, JUDGMENTS AND AWARDS SHALL BE LIMITED TO ACTUAL OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS INCURRED, BUT IN NO EVENT ATTORNEYS’ FEES; AND (II) UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL ANY PARTICIPANT BE PERMITTED TO OBTAIN ANY AWARD FOR, AND PARTICIPANT HEREBY WAIVES ALL RIGHTS TO CLAIM, ANY OTHER DAMAGES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PUNITIVE, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES.


By entering, participants agree that all issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of participants and Sponsor in connection with the competition, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the substantive laws of the State of California without regard to its conflicts of law provisions. All participants hereby consent to the jurisdiction and venue of the federal or state courts located in Orange County, California.


The sponsor of the Awards is Emerald Expositions, LLC, 31910 Del Obispo, Suite 200, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 (“Sponsor”). Decisions by the judges are final.