Hospitality Business Magazine

Obituary: Brad McNamee – hotel designer extraordinaire

Global hospitality architect, Bradford “Brad” McNamee, has died at his home in San Juan Capistrano, California after a six-year battle with Motor Neuron Disease. Although diagnosed in 2014, McNamee continued in his role with WATG* and was still “in the saddle” designing in the hours leading up to his death. He was 64.

Born in Seattle, Washington, McNamee graduated with honours and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo in 1982 after growing up in Corona del Mar. He joined WATG in 1987 and through the course of his 33-year tenure designed 38 built projects in 10 countries. 

McNamee left an indelible mark on the global hospitality industry, designing hotels and resorts for Conrad, Four Seasons, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, ITC, Le Meridien, Loews, MGM, Montage, Oberoi, Raffles, Regent, Renaissance, Ritz-Carlton, Sofitel, St. Regis, Viceroy, Westin and W Hotels. McNamee designed the first Ritz-Carlton in India (Bangalore) which opened in 2013, and the first Ritz-Carlton resort in China in Sanya in 2008. He designed W Singapore Sentosa, St. Regis, St. Regis Residences, Oceanfront and Quayside Retail at Sentosa and Sophia Condominiums.  

WATG President + CEO Anthony Mallows commented, “Brad leaves a legacy of exceptional design. His dedication to his craft and to our WATG family is nothing short of heroic. He instilled a passion for, and commitment to, creative excellence amongst his team. His spirit, fortitude and fearlessness will be deeply missed. Brad leaves behind a portfolio of built work around the world that will forever reflect his extraordinary talent and his love of design and travel.” 

WATG Regional Managing Director, The Americas, Monica Cuervo said, “Brad’s love of travel and exploration made him an even more brilliant designer. He had immense respect for every culture and, at the start of each project, would immerse himself to understand the people and the place. He designed with the guest in mind and it gives us great solace that thousands of guests around the world will continue to have incredible experiences in the spaces and places that Brad created.”

McNamee served as senior project designer for many of the firm’s award-winning projects. McNamee’s designs received AIA Honorable Mention and PCBC Gold Nugget Awards for the House of Blues in Hollywood, California; Broken Top Club in Bend, Oregon and The Langham Huntington in Pasadena, California. CNBC Asia Pacific bestowed its ‘Best Development Award’ on Oceanfront at Sentosa in 2008 and the St. Regis Residences in Singapore in 2009. The Fédération Internationale des Administrateurs de Bien-Conselis Immobiliers (FIABCI) awarded the St. Regis Singapore its Hotel Prix d’Excellence Award in 2009. McNamee designed the Viceroy Anguilla (now Four Seasons Anguilla), the brand’s first property outside the USA. The resort has won nearly 50 international travel and design awards, including Hospitality Design Magazine’s ‘Creative Achievement Award’ for Luxury/Upscale Public Spaces in 2011. McNamee’s other notable projects include the Ritz-Carlton Xi’an, China and Hollywood & Highland in California.

McNamee’s full list of built projects can be found here on the firm’s website

*About WATG

Founded in 1945 and celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2020, WATG is one of the world’s leading design firms specialising in hospitality, entertainment + gaming, urban + mixed-use and high-end residential design.