Luxury and decadence is no longer exclusive to leading four-star, five-star and boutique hotels, instead it’s now also pursued by budget chain hotels. From the reconfiguration of guestrooms and creating a multifunctional space in the reception, to adding spa-like touches to bathrooms and providing hi-tech accommodation, hotels are more geared up than ever to leave their guests with a memorable experience. This impacts significantly on interiors as well; whether that’s in the room layout, facilities or furniture. Here Tim Armitt, Managing Director of Lyndon by Boss Design, takes a closer look.
The multifunctional reception area?
Today, hotels have to cater to the needs and whims of all types of guests; from corporate executives and conference delegates to bridal parties and weekenders. Therefore, the reception is a critical part of the hotel. It’s where guests gain their first impressions and where various social and business encounters take place. As such, it’s designed to be more fluid and flexible with creative space segmentation providing both social and corporate zones.
Naturally, such flexibility influences the choice of seating and furniture. As well as maximising space and accommodating large volumes of people, it’s important to consider comfort, flexibility and practicality. Modular seating is a popular choice for this space. From straight and curved configuration seating to more traditional options of sofas, corner units and footstools, the possibilities are endless.
Whilst the reception is still an area for checking in and out, it’s also a remote office, communal workspace and even a meeting hub for corporate travellers; hence, it’s not uncommon to find phone booths, meeting booths and touchdown spaces here – many complete with integral technology. Clusters of furniture that offer more private and personal areas for meetings or for individual work such as plush armchairs and sofas – and even bar tables or islands with stools – also fulfil these varying needs.
Smaller rooms have become the norm as guests spend more time in social places. Desks are also required less in the bedroom, as people prefer to sit on chairs or on beds to work when using their laptop or tablet, or even to spend time in the reception. More than anything, hotel rooms should provide comfort – that feeling of a home away from home. Guests also expect surprises and touches of luxury. Hence, many hotels go that extra mile to add bespoke touches such as hand-stitched wall panels, bedroom headboards and ottomans, along with luxurious chaise longues and benches. Individual style and detail can be added with vertical and horizontal fluting, button detailing and specialist stitch as well as panelling facets.
Restaurant and bar
In order to woo guests, many hotels have turned their restaurants into memorable spaces with highly creative themes that take culinary experiences to new heights. Choosing the right seating and furniture here can pose quite a challenge. Not only is it important to choose pieces that maximise space to create more covers, it’s essential to offer comfort, flexibility and practicality. High tables and bar stools combine great design with functionality, and bring a casual feel to any bar or dining area – particularly when combined with low-level options. They also serve to break up the eye-line of furniture.
Today’s restaurant guests are also looking for a more cohesive experience; where everything from the menu and glassware to the lighting and wall decoration, work well together. Hence, many turn to bespoke furniture and seating that coordinates with the decor and introduces an element of indulgence and exclusivity. Once discounted on the basis of cost, restaurants now appreciate the benefits of individuality and panache. Indeed, those that have invested in bespoke seating always enjoy a great return on their investment. Banquettes and booths offer the perfect solution for awkward spaces or for establishments that are keen to maximise space. Booths are more private and intimate – especially the high-backed designs – and often provide greater comfort than chairs, thanks to their soft, padded seats and backs.
Of course, not everyone wants to stay connected, especially when on holiday. However, hotels now focus on keeping guests ‘plugged in’ at all costs. Indeed, it’s estimated that the average guest travels with at least three devices that require charging. As such, hotels have had to adapt to meet their needs and we now see more and more seating and furniture incorporating integral power supply, USBs and telephone chargers. Such integration is clean, seamless and aesthetically coordinates with each piece.
The most successful hotel interior design schemes tend to be those that show a real understanding of what guests need and how they interact. For any space to truly work, particularly public spaces, having this awareness and understanding of guests’ needs and expectations is the key to leaving them with a memorable experience.