Less is More: Streamlining Design

By David Ashen Principal and Founder, dash design | September 25, 2016

When designing today’s hospitality venues, whether they’re fully outfitted resorts, boutique hotels, or beach side bungalows, hoteliers are finding ways to streamline design and simplify the guest experience. Muted colors and minimal furnishings in combination with earthy textures, expansive views of the outdoors, fresh scents and liberal doses of natural light not only foster a sense of peace but also help today’s travelers set aside everyday distractions for the serenity that simplified living provides. In this article, David Ashen, partner and founder of dash design, explores how today’s hoteliers are making the most of the trend to simplify.

During a recent business trip to Curacao, I stayed in 10-room boutique hotel called BijBlauw.
The Dutch couple that owned the place, which included a wonderful restaurant, furnished it simply, but that’s not to say it was meager. I stayed in the largest guest room; an elegantly serene suite that had a painted bed prepared with modest, yet beautiful linens. Above the bed, a section of driftwood was suspended. There were, perhaps one or two other pieces of furniture in the room along with a terrace that overlooked the impressive expanse of the Caribbean Sea’s crystalline turquoise waters.

There were no hanging pictures or television sets in the room, but not because the hotel lacked the capacity for either—other rooms had both. But the owners had purposely left this room devoid of the distractions. After all, the view of the Caribbean was magnificent; a treat unrivaled by anything that a television or furnishing could provide. My focus shifted. The luxury of simplicity.

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Sutton Place Apartment by dash design

As a society, we process an incredible amount of information daily. The U.K.’s The Telegraph reported in 2011 that a study found that the amount of information that people are hit with every day could fill 174 newspapers. It’s no wonder that a simpler approach to life has emerged as a growing trend.

Although lavishly appointed properties provide for virtually any need, modesty certainly has its place. How businesses and hospitality venues carve out their spaces and treat sensory conditions can leave their customers feeling overwhelmed and confused or relaxed and focused. And it’s not just smaller operations that are taking note of those effects. Simplifying surroundings with a subtle approach is a universal way to instill a sense of calm.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.