Hotel interior design is continuously shifting. One day guests love abstract while the next they crave minimalism. Today’s hotel guests are primarily focused on two things – technology and sustainability. Hoteliers are using these ideas to build multi-functional spaces that travelers love.
1. High-Tech Accommodations
Today’s travelers want to stay connected 24/7. Hotels are meeting expectations by incorporating high-tech accommodations, from high-speed Wi-Fi to touch-screen check-in devices. The concept is designed to touch on both functionality and fun.
The Henn-na Hotel Maihama Tokyo Bay takes the technology trend to the extreme with a hotel staffed entirely by robots. The front desk receptionists are multilingual dinosaurs. The bellhops are robotic carts. The rooms don’t even have light switches – instead, guests command Tuly, a robotic doll turned personal concierge that sits on the bedside table.
2. Outdoor/Indoor Infusion
Biomimicry is a style of design that takes a lesson from nature’s playbook. The future of hotels doesn’t stop at energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly design. Instead, imagine a hotel that can breathe and absorb sunlight like a living being.
The Kepos Eco Hotel in Florida, for example, has open pores that absorb wind and solar energy. The Mandarin Oriental Tokyo functions precisely like a living tree, filled with natural elements like wood. The Songjiang Hotel in China channels the geothermal properties from an old quarry mind to produce hot water and electricity.
3. Local Art Immersion
One way hotels are attempting to stand out – and appeal to new guests – is to incorporate local art. According to Dan Vinh, vice president of global marketing for Marriott, claims, “When [people] travel, they want an experience that they can talk about, that they can bring back and share stories about.” That experience is shaped by local cultural immersion.
Hotel managers view the incorporation of local artwork as similar to restaurants showcasing local ingredients. At the Omni Dallas Hotel, which opened in 2011, more than 6,500 pieces of original art – created by 150 different artists – hang on the walls.
4. Reclaimed Materials
Today’s travelers are more eco-conscious than ever, with the sustainable tourism market expected to boom in the coming years. One new trend to attract new guests is to incorporate reclaimed and repurposed materials into design.
Reclaimed wood is taken from sources like old barns, warehouses, retired ships, wine casks and much more. It provides a sense of character you can’t get anywhere else. Plus, reused materials have less environmental impact. Virgin lumber – which has never been used – consumes 11 to 13 times more energy compared to the reclaimed variety.
5. Multi-Use Lobbies
The hotel lobby is the primary source of first impressions. Today’s travelers need multi-functional spaces, whether for an informal meeting, work on the laptop or to charge a cellphone. Separate the area into sections, both intimate and social zones. Furnish with items that drive comfort and functionality, focusing on purpose over aesthetic.
A lobby bar can function as both a social and intimate spot. Before becoming a traditional bar at night, it can operate as a meeting space, casual restaurant or workspace. Instead of checking in and getting your room key, the hotel reception becomes an experience in-and-of-itself.
6. All-Inclusive Experiences
Hotels are straying away from the boring room-and-TV accommodations. Instead, they’re looking to entice guests and boost loyalty through inclusive experiences. Hotels can offer tailored experiences that highlight local culture, foods and attractions.
The Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte offers the $10,000 Bucket List Experience to one guest at a time. The package includes one-of-a-kind opportunities like floor seats to an NBA game and a player meet-and-greet. At the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C., guests can explore behind the scenes at the U.S. capital building.
7. Sustainable Features
Today’s travelers are looking for more than a little greenery in the lobby. They seek out hotels and hospitality brands committed to eco-friendly designs and practices. For example, features like solar-powered trash compactors, natural lighting and rainwater recycling.
At the Six Senses Con Dao in Vietnam, the structure and materials are designed to maximize airflow, reduce the need for air conditioning and cut carbon emissions. Lefay Resort in Italy, another example, is integrated into the village’s hillside to reduce energy and heat dissipation. They also collect and reuse rainwater.
8. Personalized Stays
Even when staying at a hotel for the first time, guests want to feel welcome and at home. That ambiance can is achieved through strategic design. The goal is to remove down barriers and bring back energy. With new communal and private lounge spaces, guests can choose to interact in new ways.
First, look at the lobby. Design the space to be inclusive and comfortable. Incorporate calming colors and multiple textures. Add a leisure spot, like a bar, café or bookstore. Some hotels are eliminating the front desk altogether, creating a one-on-one check-in experience with a staff member and mobile device.
The fastest-growing trends in hotel interior design focus on practicality and function over aesthetics. Hoteliers are attempting to connect with guests in new and exciting ways – including with a robot-filled staff. Even green initiatives, which bring nature indoors, focus on eco-friendly practices to win over sustainable travelers. The aim is to understand not only what consumers want, but the thought process that drives their demands.
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