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

DiLeonardo concurs and suggests that retrofits are a great opportunity to address the environmental impacts of products in hotel properties. Durability and timeless design are important considerations in the retrofitting process, she says, because “when those renovations do come up it’s not a wholesale change. Looking at the durability of products and being very thoughtful in what you’re putting into the spaces is critical.”

Getting Back to Basics

The line between the business and leisure traveler has disappeared; 83 percent of professionals use time on business trips to explore the city they’re visiting. Visitors to Oakland, Calif., might stop in to Duende Restaurant & Bodega, a hip venue designed by Arcsine. PHOTO: Eric Rorer

The line between the business and leisure traveler has disappeared; 83 percent of professionals use time on business trips to explore the city they’re visiting. Visitors to Oakland, Calif., might stop in to Duende Restaurant & Bodega, a hip venue designed by Arcsine. PHOTO: Eric Rorer


Ultimately, one of the failings of exploring design trends like these is that they are so often short lived. What’s in vogue today is often passé tomorrow. As a result, a simple, timeless approach is often the best route when it comes to renovating interiors.

“We’re seeing a lot of this sort of back-to-basics kind of design where it’s not too trendy; it’s not trying too hard; it’s easy,” Mayer explains.

And in the world of hospitality, the basics always come back to one thing: the guest. Every decision to design, upgrade or renovate should be made with the guest experience in mind.

“Sometimes it’s just asking the question and thinking about it in a little different way—and it’s always from a standpoint of the guest experience,” Coben says. “How do they navigate their way through the lobby or to the guestroom from the time they get off the curb into the building? What do we want the guest to see?”

Whatever it is, make sure it’s in clear focus.

No Substitute for the Personal Touch

While the high-tech trend is still in full swing and technology upgrades are key to a successful hotel property, it’s important to remember that even the best applications can’t substitute for good old-fashioned customer service. Besides, everyone needs to unplug every so often and be catered to, and there’s no better place to do that than in a hospitality setting that’s designed well.

“I think that there’s definitely a careful balance that we’re all still trying to tread,” notes Brooke Taylor, director of interiors at Oakland, Calif.-based Arcsine. “While technology offers lots of convenience and we all love it … you want to be able to escape it, too. For example, not having a person check you in—there’s a lot of mixed feelings on that and it goes back to the essence of hospitality. It’s a personal touch; it’s being taken care of; it’s being welcomed; it’s being cared for—and an iPad isn’t going to do that for you.”

Teddy Mayer, director of hospitality for Gensler in New York City, echoes that sentiment, noting, “No matter what the technology is, no matter how seamless it becomes, you always want to be able to make that really personal connection with your guest.”

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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