15 Innovative Hotel Design Trends to Watch for in 2020
December 9, 2019 Cristina Villalón
Render of hotel guests enjoying the rooftop pool of the ESJ hotel by AD&V.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR |  Cristina Villalón is the Co-Founder and Lead Designer at Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón. She directs both the Interior Design and Visual Merchandising divisions while overseeing all decisions made on a day-to-day basis at the firm.

These innovative hotel design trends will wow hospitality guests

Nowadays, it’s very common for people to check for online reviews and recommendations before booking a hotel, restaurant, or even a flight. Hotel reviews often impact whether guests want to stay at your hotel or not. Hotel guests are increasing their already high expectations and becoming even more difficult to please.

Impressing your hotel guests will give you a necessary advantage when it comes to them sharing their experiences online for everyone to see. The better your hotel guests’ experience, the better their reviews will be, and the more people will want to stay at your hotel.

The following hotel design trends can serve as a roadmap to wow even the most demanding of guests.

1. THE MILLENNIAL FACTOR 

Millennials are a unique, rising segment in the hospitality industry. Millennials enjoy traveling, they’re impulsive, they embrace the latest technology, and they look for personalized interactions.

For 2020, new features and perks like online check-in, digital concierges, free events, unique & affordable dining, and especially “instagramable” experiences, will help hotels attract more millennials.

Inspirato Residence - Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón | Architecture & Interior Design

2. A HYPER-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 experiences. Guests will continue to demand amenities and services, but they will be more inclined to focus on “experiencing” rather than on “having.”

According to research from InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Amadeus, the hyper-personalized room could be one of the biggest changes for the hospitality industry. The research states that, “Consumers are used to buying exactly what they want and need when it comes to music, entertainment, fashion, and travel. Hotel accommodation, which has traditionally been bought in a standard and uniform way, will need to adapt, as 61% of global travelers state a preference for hotels to be priced in a way that allows them to add-on bespoke options.”

In other words, hotels will need to take advantage of every opportunity to engage guests by providing authentic and personalized experiences in every space and service.

FURTHER READING: MILLENNIAL HOSPITALITY: DESIGNING WITH MILLENNIAL TRAVELERS IN MIND

3. A TEMPORARY HOME

The days of matching décor and furniture in every guest room are long gone, and the demand for making hotel rooms feel like home continues to increase.

Already there is a  new concept called Stay Kooook, developed to make you live like at home in a hotel. The central living element in the room is flexible and can be moved to one side or another other in seconds allowing the guest to create space wherever they need it, either enlarging the living area or kitchen.  With these new design and layout possibilities, hotels can offer guests an innovative and more personalized experience that can adapt to their individual needs.

4. SAY GOODBYE TO THE FRONT DESK 

Another way hotels are adopting the temporary home concept is by completely re-designing their lobbies and other public areas changing stiff corporate looking spaces into living room-like spaces that are welcoming.

In 2020, front desks will start to disappear. 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. Some hotels have already chosen to remove the check-in desk entirely, while additional design changes will aim to move guests out of their rooms and into dynamic social spaces.

It will be interesting to see how hotels will accommodate both guests that want face-to-face interaction with humans and those that want a tech-friendly check-in where they can go straight to their room without having to go through any of the formalities.

5. MODULAR MEETING SPACES

The design and functionality of meeting spaces has changed in order to adapt to new technology. Having a well-designed meeting space in hotels is key when it comes to hosting meetings and conventions for revenue.

New technology is becoming smaller and more portable. Hotel guests have a higher demand for comfort. By 2020, expect to see scaled down furniture to fit this new technology, open meeting spaces, and comfortable seating options. Designers will have to take the modular design approach and incorporate versatility, flexibility and connectivity in order to help bring people together, so that they can create lasting business relationships in a relaxed environment.

6. FEELING GOOD

In the coming year, hotel designs will focus more on making guests feel their best.

Providing guests with high quality service and convenience has integrated into the luxury aspect of hotels. Not only will hotel spaces and furniture aim to look luxurious, but they will also aim to feel luxuriously good to guests.

ESJ Verde | An ESJ Collection - Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón | Architecture & Interior Design

7. UNIQUE ENVIRONMENTS 

Expect to see more smart materials 2020. Designers will use smart materials to create dynamic environments that will feature walls that create the perfect room temperature, furniture that acts as a power source, color changing wallpapers, and other innovative applications.

Smart materials that can change color, texture, and/or form based on temperature, lighting, and electrical fields will make lifelong impressions on hotel guests.

8. GOING GREEN  

People are starting to expect sustainability, and at the same time, hotels are evaluating their environmental impact. While more hotels are reusing towels and installing automatic lights in an effort to be green, others are taking energy conservation and sustainability to new heights.

Next year, energy conservation will begin to resurface in design. We will see more sustainable, eco-friendly practices that support sustainability and connect guests to local culture and history.  Natural light, solar panels, recycled wood, organic materials, hourglass timers in showers, locally handcrafted items and repurposed furniture are some of the trends.

9. IN & OUT 

By 2020, designers will use natural elements to blur the lines between interior and exterior spaces, especially in tropical hotels where these spaces flow together.

Indoor waterfalls, multilevel terraces, rustic wooden furnishings, walled gardens, gorgeous vegetation and panoramic views will enable guests to connect with nature from the safety of an indoor-outdoor space and experience something unique, authentic and memorable. Mixing these design elements will help create new & unexpected environments.

hotel design trends

10. STORYTELLING

Next year, patterns and textures will be changing. Patterns will shift to more visually soothing elements while textures will shift to heavy fabrics like velvet. More natural materials, warmer tones, and neutral colors will be used by designers.

Storytelling will be integrated throughout design that’s aimed at creating authentic experiences. Mixing and matching different contemporary styles will help with the storytelling that will provide guests, especially millennials, with the fresh and engaging experiences that they seek.

11. IT’S ALL ABOUT SELF-CARE 

The wellness hospitality sector is gaining popularity among health-conscious travelers, forcing hotels to rethink both their exterior and interior designs.

More hotels have added and continue to add gyms, health spas, retreat areas, air and water purification systems, in-room exercise equipment and space, energizing lighting, and other special offerings to accommodate the preferences of health-conscious guests.

Hotels are now including gluten-free & vegan options. For 2020, offering custom or special meals is another way to appeal to health-conscious consumers and cater to a guests’ personalized experience.

12. TECH SAVVY HOTELS

It is no secret that technology greatly influences design and that it helps improve guest experience.

In smart hotels, personalized tablets can control everything from room temperature to food service orders. Rooms have streaming services such as Netflix and Apple TV. You can connect to Wi-Fi anywhere. In some hotels, Li-Fi (internet connection through lights) is replacing Wi-Fi. An extreme example of this trend is the Henn-na Hotel in Japan that is manned solely by robots.

For 2020, advanced software will be able to integrate different platforms into one. This means that multiple platforms from different departments such as catering, accounting, marketing, and customer service will be able to be managed under one platform. This capability can help improve hotel operations and customer experiences.

As much as they expect hi-tech, smart features and services, U.S. guests still appreciate the value of personal and friendly high-touch hospitality.

13. INTEGRATED DESIGN 

Expect to see more site-integrated hotels in 2020. Designers will design low-impact structures with natural elements in mind in order to join site-integrated hotels with their surroundings.

Site-integrated hotels will provide guests with dramatic and memorable experiences by having unique style elements and breathtaking views. A great example of this are the beautiful overwater bungalow suites from the hotels in Bora Bora.

14. AU NATURALE 

There will be more biophilic design in 2020. There has been a keen focus on the important connection between people and nature because it affects our health and productivity.

Since we tend to spend most of our time indoors, we crave time to interact with nature. Biophilic design provides ways to meet those needs by creating a habitat in our built environments. More and more, designers are using daylighting techniques, natural ventilation, indoor gardens, organic building materials, nature views and water, with every element helping us fulfill this need.

15. 3D PRINTED DESIGN 

With the continuous progress of 3-D printing technology, we will start to see endless possibilities in hotel design by 2020.

When it comes to manufacturing products, 3-D printing will be able to create eco-friendly textiles that seemed impossible. The opportunities to make 3-D printed furnishings and electronics to use in different spaces will take hotel design by storm.

Moving Forward

These design trends will have a significant impact not only in 2020, but also in years to come as we continue to embrace change, new technology, and environmental responsibility and as we create hyper-personalized, authentic and memorable experiences for our traveling friends.


To learn how technology is transforming the hospitality industry and how to use it to boost the guest experience to a new level, download this helpful guide:

Innovation-Driven Technology Revolutionizes the Hotel Guest Experience

Hotel Guest Experience

1 Comment

  1. Anna T. 11 months ago

    This is very informative. Thank you!

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