The hospitality industry is constantly changing to cater to customer needs but the new year gives us an opportunity to take stock of the changes that have emerged in 2017, and make predictions for 2018. Here is a list of inspiring building and design ideas for property owners, architects and decorators involved in the construction and renovation of boutique hotels, resorts, homestays and the like.
The hotel as an extension of your home
Today, hotels have become a travel destination themselves, and guests look forward to enjoying curated experiences of a lifetime while on a vacation, both inside and outside the property. They prefer staying in a place which showcases local tradition and culture, with warm and welcoming spaces that don’t feel anonymous and cut off from their surroundings. The growing popularity of the Airbnb model is also an indication that today’s travellers are choosing to stay in hotels that feel like home. Today’s guests seek a human connection instead of impersonalised, efficient service.
This means that hotels of every size can experiment with offering rooms that don’t all look like each other, with matching decor and furniture. Owners can opt to make each room a little different, by experimenting, for example, with different treatments for walls and tiles, using more natural looking textures for the roof, and including quirky knick-knacks and artwork in each room.
The lobby as a ‘hangout’ space
The lobby is central to the design of any hotel or resort, and young guests today look to socialise, work, eat and lounge about in this space. Extending the idea that the hotel of today is a home away from home, architects are redesigning the lobby to make a better first impression on guests when they arrive, and entice them to come out of their rooms and mingle with others more often. Unlike before, the lobbies, therefore, are not merely practical, business-like, stuffy and grand spaces, but are more inviting and casual, and encourage a community feel.
In 2018, hospitality businesses are likely to replace the formal ‘front desk’ space with laid-back check-in areas, with comfortable sofas and modular furniture, so guests can sip on wine and coffee, or connect with other guests, mimicking a ‘hostel’ feel.
Focus on site-specific, flowing design
Architects and designers are looking to blur the line between interior and exterior spaces, to bring the outside in. The emphasis is on making the spaces contained within a hotel flow more seamlessly into each other. Property owners are therefore experimenting with living ‘green’ walls and roofs, indoor waterfalls, multilevel terraces, walled gardens, and landscaping that allows guests to connect with nature more authentically.
Site-specific design is becoming more important, so the building blends more organically with the outside, say by including curves and flowing lines in the main structure and building pavilions, gazebos, outdoor lounge areas, and tree-lined walkways.
Embracing ‘natural-looking’, sustainable materials
Decorators in the hospitality industry are experimenting with different kinds of colours, textures, fabrics and construction materials like mud, clay, bamboo, and stone to evoke this minimalist, ‘green’ look and feel. This has the added advantage of making these spaces more sustainable in design and improving the wellness quotient of the space.
Keep watching this space for more design inspiration in the hospitality industry.
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Preeti Prakash | Journalist