Architecture & Design
David Ashen
  • Architecture & Design
  • Art First, Hotel Second
  • The shift in calling a public area an art gallery first and a function space (pre-function) second was interesting to note. That’s because, particularly during the last 10 years, art has become a necessary part of the story for all upper-end, boutique hotels. This is especially true in the United States, where there is scant opportunity for the display of notable, public art. Thankfully, hotels have been filling that niche, bringing excellent art to the general public and making it accessible. Now, quality art is not a nicety; it’s an expectation. Read on...

David Ashen
  • Architecture & Design
  • The Craving for Local Color and Culture
  • There was a time in America, before the proliferation of national chains, when every town had an independent, family-run hotel. With the rise of soft-branded properties and increasing demand for guest stays in properties reflective of local culture, David Ashen, partner and founder of interior design and brand consulting firm dash design, takes a look at the rising popularity of independently, locally branded properties and their how they—and the hospitality industry—are meeting the desire for venues with local color. Read on...

David Ashen
  • Architecture & Design
  • High Design Delivers a Pleasing, Inspired Ambiance to Limited Service Brands
  • When I walked into the new Hyatt Place in Legacy Village near Cleveland a few weeks ago, it was apparent a shift had taken place. This was no limited service brand designed for low-cost and convenience. Gone were the ho-hum finishes; the garish array of too-bright blues, reds, oranges and yellows; the swath of industrial materials selected for their superior stain-resistance rather than their stylish appeal. Instead, I was greeted by a sophisticated palette that complimented the interior’s modern furnishings, including a light fixture that I recognized as that of an admired British designer. Clearly, the hotel offered much more than a rudimentary room to rest my head. Here, to my surprise, I found a hotel whose elevated design delivered a pleasing, inspired ambiance that invited me to step in and stay. Read on...

James Coleman
  • Architecture & Design
  • 8 Tips You Should Know Before Upgrading Your Hotel Bathrooms
  • You have probably read the reasons why you should update your hotel’s bathrooms. And you’re now certain that your bathrooms should be upgraded to save space, please your customers, and give more aesthetic appeal to your hotel. However, choosing to upgrade your bathroom isn’t as simple as calling your interior designer and telling them to overhaul everything in your bathroom and hoping for the best. After all, a complete upgrade for the sake of aesthetic might only waste your money when done improperly. You might also end up changing something and displeasing your customers, especially if you don’t know what they want Read on...

Amanda Tower
  • Architecture & Design
  • Hotel Design Inspiration - Genius Loci, or "The Spirit of Place"
  • Capturing the essence and soul of a location that surrounds a structure, and exhibiting that essence through the design extends the cultural experience into the hotel and further establishes a sense of place within the lodging experience. In architecture and interior design, genius loci is a profound inspiration for creating a sense of “place” and a truly unique experience for guests. How does genius loci inspire hotel design, both structurally and in the interior design, and how can hotels use it to create a more enhanced guest experience? Read on...

Jennifer  Skaife
  • Architecture & Design
  • Authentic Experiences, Locally Produced Using Original Elements
  • Exploring authentic ways of infusing the hotel location based upon the Operator/Brand & Owner vision. Applying elements of brand-specific identity and responding with successful design solutions within the constraints of existing properties- i.e. interior architecture, existing zoning etc. “It’s Tuesday so I must be in Sheffield...” When I started working in hospitality design, this was one of many sayings we frequently heard and always joked about. These were the days when the road warriors back in the UK drove their Ford Taurus’ from town to town, city to city, staying overnight in the local hotel flag of their or their company’s choice. Read on...

Manuela Bravo-Smith
  • Architecture & Design
  • Achieving an Authentic Venue, Through Integrated Design
  • Sameness was once considered a virtue in the hospitality industry. Travelers were believed to crave predictability, which seemed to dovetail with the desire of larger hospitality groups to establish a recognizable brand. This was correct to some degree: a certain segment of the market prefer to take no chances with a hotel stay, and therefore place a premium on familiarity and having expectations met. But the industry has begun to swing away from this paradigm, recognizing that travelers also love a find: a unique experience or destination that offers newness and variety. Read on...

Samuel J. Cicero Sr.
  • Architecture & Design
  • What's Trending in Hotel Lobby and Public Space Designs?
  • We have all been there. After a long day of travel, exhaustion kicks in and you can hardly wait to reach the hotel. When the front desk attendant hands over the key, you can finally take a deep breath and get set for the fun-filled days ahead. For the business traveler, whose stay is less casual and more formal, a room key means it's time to relax and prepare for the next important meeting or to celebrate a success. First things first: Every traveler deserves lobbies and public spaces that warmly welcomes them and awakens their senses, something more than a passageway to the front desk for expediting check-in and check-out. Read on...

Pat Miller
  • Architecture & Design
  • Coloring Outside the Lines
  • Hospitality guests today want a more authentic experience connected to nature and local culture. Designers are responding with new schemes for public spaces that perforate the border between indoor and outdoor, opening up lobbies, lobby bars and restaurants to bring guests into the environment around the hotel. Whether creating unobstructed views of the mountain landscapes or physically opening the space to the neighboring waterfront, indoor/outdoor spaces create a whole new experience for guests and pays dividends for owners. Read on...

Ken Martin
  • Architecture & Design
  • Adaptive Re-Use of Existing Facilities: Instant, Authentic Architectural Character
  • Hotels have long been a piece of the urban fabric, but more often than not they keep to themselves, so to speak, through both design and programming. Aware of the locals, but inward-looking and more focused on the happiness of their guests; in the city, but not really of it. And that’s been a function of the industry’s decades-long branding and business model: Provide guests comfort through universal similarity no matter the location, from architecture to furniture to amenities. Yet travelers are in search of unique and authentic experiences, moments rooted in the essence of wherever it is they’re visiting. Read on...

Alan Roberts
  • Architecture & Design
  • Renovate, Refresh and Generate ROI: Effective Strategies for Revitalizing Properties
  • Renovations at hotel properties promise significant rewards. From higher guest loyalty scores to additional revenue streams and new business from trusted partners, revitalizing a property constitutes a win for both brands and owners – but only when done right. As the Global Head of Embassy Suites by Hilton, I’ve witnessed many major renovation projects firsthand. The successful ones have three important factors in common: owners who think bigger than just their financials; careful planning with guests’ needs kept top-of-mind; and a strong collaboration between the brand and ownership to prioritize renovation areas and create cost-effective strategies that align with individual budgets. Read on...

Gino Caliendo
  • Architecture & Design
  • A Hotel Renovation Inspired by a City and Its People
  • Embarking on a major hotel renovation can be an exciting endeavor. When we began formulating our renewed vision for the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront in 2014, we were mindful of a dual responsibility: projecting the image of the regency brand while also infusing into the plan the personality and flavor of a unique surrounding region and its people. Now that the project is complete, others in the industry may benefit from learning about how we achieved those objectives. In all, the year-long renovation included a floor-to-ceiling overhaul of all 951 guest rooms, corridors, the roof-top fitness center, select meeting spaces and more. Read on...

Tammy S. Miller
  • Architecture & Design
  • Telling a Unique Story Through Interior Design
  • Every town, village, community, and city has its own character, its own vibe, and its own history. Each location has a story to tell about what makes it unique. Isn’t it important to tell that story through the practice of interior design? Shouldn’t designers be called to task to bring the story to life in a unique way for each and every project, especially hotel projects where people stay? Doesn’t the guest travelling on vacation or on business want to understand the locale, and what makes it unique? Won’t this lead to better experiences for guests? Read on...

Gary Inman
  • Architecture & Design
  • Great Design Begins With a Great Story
  • Every great hotel has a great story. There is nothing more enduring, nor more sacred, than the art of storytelling. It is ancient in its origins, found in every culture. It is a seminal part of every childhood and is arguably the greatest economic driver on the planet. Consider the combined value of the film, music, publishing, and advertising industries, and the billions that go into brand building for nations, companies, products, beliefs, and any part of our culture – large and small - that requires a producer and consumer equation. We’re surrounded by stories, some trite and superficial but others transformative, enhancing life in ways never believed possible. Read on...

Carol Ackerman
  • Architecture & Design
  • The Royal Palms Resort and Spa - The Embodiment of the Spirit of Alvadora
  • The Royal Palms Resort and Spa represents an exceptional example of adaptive reuse from a private estate into a beloved regional treasure, preferred and proclaimed by the sophisticated neighborhood that reflects its nearly 90 year architectural influence, as the gem of the Scottsdale-Phoenix ‘resort row’. Situated approximate to such classic properties as the Phoenician, the Hyatt at Gainey Ranch and the venerated Arizona Biltmore, the Royal Palms enjoys a history and an intimacy with its Arcadia neighbors – and the greater hospitality-savvy residents in the Valley of the Sun – unequaled in affection and selection. Read on...

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AUGUST: Food & Beverage: Multiplicity and Diversity are Key

Larry Steinberg

The foodservice industry is one of the oldest and most important. Consumers from all demographics rely on it virtually every day for sustenance. In fact, in the U.S. alone, it’s a nearly $800 billion industry that’s extremely competitive, with hundreds of new establishments popping up every year, and much of this new business is the result of increased consumer demand. Consumers want more options. For every practiced chef, there is a collective of guests eager to spend their hard-earned dollars on something exotic and different. They want to experience a bit of culture by way of their next meal, and they want to find it using the latest technology. Read on...

Frank Sanchez

About two years ago, I started my career at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. I came from San Diego, California, the apparent capital of farmer’s markets. When I moved to Chicago in late-October, the number of farmer’s markets had already begun to taper off and all that was left of the hotel’s rooftop garden was the sad remnants of a summer full of bounty. However, I was in for a pleasant surprise. The Chicago Marriott Downtown operates a year-round experience to create food from scratch that gives customers fresh and nutritional options. I was thrilled to join a team that can tell a customer that the very greens on their plate were grown just floors above them. Read on...

Thomas  McKeown

To serve today’s eclectic, socially engaged and sophisticated guests, hotels and chefs need to get creative, change their thinking and push back some walls – sometimes literally. The fun thing about meetings hotels is that they are a different place just about every week. One week we’re hosting a bridge tournament, the next a corporate sales team, or a dentists’ conference, or sci-fi fans in costumes, or cheerleaders jumping for joy. You name the group, and our hotel has probably welcomed them. Read on...

Elizabeth  Blau

Over the past several years, many of us have watched with excitement and interest as the fast-casual restaurant segment has continued to boom. More and more, talented chefs with fine dining pedigrees are bringing their skills, creativity, and experience to concepts built around speed, approachability, and volume. Right now, the ability to offer a gourmet experience at all price points is as compelling to restaurateurs and diners alike. Read on...

Coming Up In The September Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Hotel Group Meetings: Blue Skies Ahead
After a decade of sacrifice and struggle, it seems that hotels and meeting planners have every reason to be optimistic about the group meeting business going forward. By every industry benchmark and measure, 2017 is shaping up to be a record year, which means more meetings in more locations for more attendees. And though no one in the industry is complaining about this rosy outlook, the strong demand is increasing competition among meeting planners across the board – for the most desirable locations, for the best hotels, for the most creative experiences, for the most talented chefs, and for the best technology available. Because of this robust demand, hotels are in the driver’s seat and they are flexing their collective muscles. Even though over 100,000 new rooms were added last year, hotel rates are expected to rise by a minimum of 4.0%, and they are also charging fees on amenities that were often gratis in the past. In addition, hotels are offering shorter lead times on booking commitments, forcing planners to sign contracts earlier than in past years. Planners are having to work more quickly and to commit farther in advance to secure key properties. Planners are also having to meet increased attendee expectations. They no longer are content with a trade show and a few dinners; they want an experience. Planners need to find ways to create a meaningful experience to ensure that attendees walk away with an impactful memory. This kind of experiential learning can generate a deeper emotional connection, which can ultimately result in increased brand recognition, client retention, and incremental sales. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group business and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.