These innovative hotel design trends will wow guests and give you a competitive edge
Hotel guests today are not easy to please. Their expectations are high. Their appetites, eclectic. And their fingers are ever-busy, hammering on smartphones, sharing every experience—especially unpleasant and disappointing ones—with anyone that will listen.
They are learning to expect extraordinary experiences in spaces that inspire them with exotic styles and surprising features but which also offer all the comforts of home. Designers have to balance these extremes to cater to sophisticated hotel guests.
The following hotel design trends can serve as a road map to wow even the most demanding guests.
1. A PERSONALIZED EXPERIENCE
In recent years, hotels have become travel destinations themselves, resulting in spaces being designed with various strategies in mind to cater to the needs of every type of guest and provide exceptional customer experiences.
Guests will continue to demand amenities, but they will be more inclined to focus on experiencing rather than on having. The key is personalization: every space, product and service is an opportunity to offer a personal hotel experience.
2. HOME SWEET HOTEL
Pioneered by extended-stay hotels, the concept of adding kitchenettes and other amenities to accommodate long-term guests has gained traction in the hotel industry and is quickly becoming a design standard. At the same time, the days of matching decor and furniture in every guest room are numbered as hotels increasingly opt for making each room a little different for a more natural, hospitable feel.
By designing variations in layout and adding unique elements throughout the space—such as unexpected textures, mix-and-match furniture, diverse wall treatments and tiles—hotels can offer guests a more personalized and fresh experience that they will enjoy and seek to relive.
3. LOBBY EVOLUTION
Another way hotels are adopting the home-away-from-home concept is by re-designing their lobbies and other public areas from business-like, pragmatic spaces to living room-like spaces that are warm and inviting.
In 2017, more front desks will be replaced with sit-down, comfortable concierge desks and sofa check-ins handled by staff equipped with iPads while guests sip on wine, coffee or soda. Additional design changes will aim to move guests out of their rooms and into dynamic social spaces.
4. THE GREENER THE BETTER
While more hotels today are reusing towels and installing automatic lights in an effort to be eco-friendly, others are taking energy conservation and sustainability to new heights. Next year we will see more sustainable practices such as natural light, solar panels, recycled wood, organic cleaning supplies, five-minute hourglass timers in showers, and using locally handcrafted and repurposed furniture that support sustainability and connect guests to the local culture and history.
5. INDOOR-OUTDOOR SPACES
Designers will continue to blur the lines between interior and exterior spaces, especially in Caribbean hotels where these spaces flow together. Indoor waterfalls, multilevel terraces, rustic wooden furnishings, walled gardens, gorgeous vegetation and panoramic views enable guests to connect with nature and enjoy beautiful surroundings at all times, creating unique, authentic and memorable experiences.
6. SMART HOTELS
Technology is one way to improve customer experience, so tech is affecting design in a big way. For example, online and iPad check-ins are eliminating the need for large front receptions areas, giving designers greater flexibility and creativity when designing lobby areas.
In smart hotels, personalized tablets can control everything from temperature to room service orders; text is replacing landlines; rooms have Netflix and Apple TV; Wi-Fi works as well outdoors as indoors; and Li-Fi (internet connection through lights) is replacing Wi-Fi. An extreme example of the smart hotel trend is the Henn-na Hotel in Japan, which is manned solely by robots.
7. SITE-INSPIRED DESIGNS
Site-integrated hotels are skillfully and beautifully joined to their immediate surroundings. These hotels awe guests with amazing views and unique style elements that shape their senses to allow for dramatic and memorable experiences. It is no wonder they are trending. To achieve the site-integration effect, designers will look to natural elements for concept inspiration and design low impact structures to blend with the local environment.
8. WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED
The wellness hospitality sector is gaining popularity among health-conscious travelers, forcing hotels to rethink both their exterior and interior designs. In 2017, more hotels will be adding and upgrading gyms, health spas, retreat areas, air and water purification systems, in-room exercise equipment and space, energizing lighting, and other special health offerings to accommodate guest preferences.
9. A LESSON IN HISTORY
Designing hotels that take into account the property’s historical context is a trend that promises to deliver fascinating results. Take for example the recently renovated Charmant Hotel in La Crosse, Wisconsin, located in a former candy factory. The design of the 67-room boutique hotel incorporates some of the factory’s old features–maple flooring, an old iron staircase and exposed brick—into a modern new design that showcases the building’s past. The color scheme suggests chocolates and nougats. The front desk also serves as a candy counter. The lobby features a display case with vintage candy boxes and equipment.
10. FEELING THE LUXURY
Hotel design will continue to move beyond the visual to become less about having a gorgeous space and more about feeling good in it. Excellent service and convenience have become a part of luxury as much as extravagant materials. Hotel spaces and furniture will be designed not only to look luxurious but to also feel luxurious.
11. STORYTELLING WITH DESIGN
Natural materials, cool tones flowing into warm ones, neutral colors and metal finishes. Patterns are expected to shift from the current high contrasting graphics to more visually soothing elements, while textures will range from soft and rich woven fabrics to heavy, opulent velvet. A mash-up of contemporary styles will produce unpredictable, whimsy environments.
That being said, design will not be driven by the new “it” color or material but by storytelling that is integrated into every aspect of the hotel’s design and that helps create unique memorable guest experiences.
These design trends will have a big impact not only in 2017 but also in years to come, as we continue to embrace change, new technology, environmental responsibility, holistic design, and as we shift toward creating unique, authentic and memorable experiences for our traveling friends.