Current Trends in Hospitality Design Are Blurring the Lines between Business and Leisure; Here’s How to Keep Things in Focus

“These have lots of different manifestations but basically it’s the idea of the living room—it’s a place to relax,” Dries-Daffner explains. “It doesn’t matter how beautifully you decorated your living room, everyone hangs out in the kitchen. Finally, if you think about the lobby as a town piazza—it’s a plaza, it’s a public gathering place. It’s not just a place to go through for circulation, but it’s a place that you want to stop and rest and take a break, to meet friends or just to see what’s going on. Like a town square or a neighborhood hub, you’ve got lots of choices on what to do.”

To create a distinctive sense of place, many hospitality venues are turning to local artists, craftsmen and artisans to imbue their properties with local flavor, as is the case at the Empéllon Al Pastor restaurant in New York, designed by Glen & Co. Architecture. PHOTO: Daniel Krieger

To create a distinctive sense of place, many hospitality venues are turning to local artists, craftsmen and artisans to imbue their properties with local flavor, as is the case at the Empéllon
Al Pastor restaurant in New
York, designed by Glen & Co. Architecture. PHOTO: Daniel Krieger

A Sense of Place

Another prominent trend shaping the hospitality industry is the move toward boutique hotels, defined as upscale, smaller properties focused on design, technology, local culture and standing out from the cookie-cutter hotel crowd, according to a recent International Business Times article. Major hotel brands, such as Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt, have been capitalizing on this trend. Boutique hotels comprise about 5 percent of the market, but the trend has grown 6.1 percent per year since 2009 and is expected to accelerate through 2019, according to research firm IBISWorld.

The reasons for the success of this niche market are many, but among them are the needs of many hotel properties to differentiate their brands, as well as to give guests an authentic experience with the community they can’t get from a chain hotel.

“To really get a sense of place and to feel like you had an experience that was specific to the location that you’re in is important to people,” Taylor suggests. “The boutique mindset has been embraced by everyone because they see how successful it is. And that’s largely because it has a personality—it has a soul, and that’s the appeal.”

Mayer adds that many major chains are creating new boutique brands as a way not only to help them diversify, but to compete with the independents that have benefited from this trend of localization. “Everyone wants to be in that world [because] people don’t love a cookie-cutter type approach,” he says. “We’re always trying to figure out how to infuse a regional, or local or neighborhood perspective in all of our projects.”

To accomplish this in practice, Taylor notes that successful boutique hotels support local artists. While this isn’t new, per se, hotels are now going further than just hanging art on the walls by hiring local furniture makers, craftsmen and artisans, highlighting and celebrating the local influences of the community throughout the hotel.

Sustainability Is a Given

Although there are still challenges to greening facilities that essentially run around the clock, hospitality clients are expecting sustainable solutions to their retrofitting needs—and opportunities abound.

As Coben observes: “Sustainability is no longer a hot-button issue. It’s basically understood that we’re tackling that on a day-in and day-out basis. That has become as prevalent to us as carrying a smartphone or cell phone.”

According to Dries-Daffner, many properties are pursuing sustainable design during renovations because of energy-conservation regulations but also to recoup their return on investment by reducing operating costs. “That’s a perfect time to take lighting design into consideration because they’re swapping out either the lamps or the fixtures of the whole system and it goes hand-in-glove with sustainability,” he notes.

About the Author

Robert Nieminen
Robert Nieminen is a freelance writer; the former editor of Interiors & Sources magazine; and retrofit’s editor at large, specializing in interiors. Under his direction, Interiors & Sources was the recipient of several publishing awards, as well as a pioneer of sustainability reporting.

1 Comment on "Current Trends in Hospitality Design Are Blurring the Lines between Business and Leisure; Here’s How to Keep Things in Focus"

  1. Phenomenal article! Allows travelers to rethink their own requirements when they visit hospitality facilities.

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