Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. McCleese

Gail McCleese

Co-Leader Global Hospitality Design, Gensler

Gail McCleese is the co-leader of the global Hospitality design practice area at Gensler, the world's largest architecture, design and planning firm. She also serves as Design Director, Design Experience Leader, Client Relationship Leader and Studio Director within the firm's Houston office.

With more than 30 years of hospitality experience — 25 of those at her own, award-winning design firm — Ms. McCleese has an in-depth knowledge of the global hospitality industry and a flair for crafting inviting and memorable experiences for guests. At her core, Ms. McCleese is a positive-thinking, sensory designer driven to create spaces that speak to all human senses. She has been recognized for her award-winning interiors of high-end restaurants, four- and five-star luxury hotels and resorts, casinos, and active aging environments. Her client roster includes Hyatt, Hilton, Omni, Landry's, InterContinental Hotels, Kimpton, and Wanda Hotels & Resorts.

Ms. McCleese is an active member of American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the ACE Houston Mentor Program. She has served as Executive Vice President and Membership Chairperson of the Houston chapter of Network of Executive Women in Hospitality (NEWH). Ms. McCleese has spoken at a number of local and national industry events throughout her career, most recently discussing the future for meeting and conference venue spaces at the International Association of Conference Centers' (IACC) Meeting Room of the Future Showcase in Toronto. She was also a contributor to the firm's latest research into Hospitality Design as included in the Hospitality Experience IndexSM, the culmination of a multiyear, mixed-methods research effort leveraging ethnographic research and a 1,200-person survey to find patterns in how guests interact with hotel environments.


Please visit http://www.gensler.com for more information.

Ms. McCleese can be contacted at +1 713-209-7962 or gail_mccleese@gensler.com

Coming up in November 2020...

Hotel Design: Home Away From Home

With the rise of the sharing economy and the peer-to-peer marketplace for lodging options, hoteliers are re-thinking the look, feel and appeal of their locations. There is an emphasis on re-creating a feeling of homeyness - a comfortable, cozy and inviting space that feels like home. 'This is accomplished through the careful selection of furniture design, paint colors, lighting design, artwork, bathroom fixtures and textile accessories. In addition, some hotels are providing their guests with upscale amenities, such as a book and movie library, home-style kitchenettes, a coffee machine with locally-sourced beans and tea, or even a batch of fresh-baked cookies. Similarly, there is a growing design trend based on the concept of place-making. Travelers are searching for experiences that are unique and authentic to the locale in which they find themselves, and so hotel designers are integrating a sense of place into their work. This is partially achieved by incorporating traditional artisanal crafts and other local artwork into hotel rooms and communal spaces. Another design trend includes the creation of full-service, co-working environments within the hotel. Guests don't like to stay alone in their room when they need to work, so now they can go downstairs to the lobby-or up to the roof-to work among others. These areas encourage guests - and non-guests alike - to stay as long as they like and to partake of hotel amenities. Finally, recognizing the importance of the Wellness Movement, some designers are exploring how room design can increase the likelihood of deep and restorative sleep. Creating dark and quiet spaces, blocking excessive light, providing guests with a selection of different kinds of pillows, and the ability to control room temperature, are a few of the best practices in this area. These are some of the architecture and design topics that will be covered in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.