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 2019...

Architecture & Design: Biophilic Design

The hospitality industry is constantly evolving to meet and exceed guest expectations. As a result, hotels are always on the lookout for new ways to improve the guest experience, and architecture and design is an essential part of this equation. Bold design is often the most effective way to make an exceptional first impression - an impression guests use to distinguish between brands. One design trend that is being embraced worldwide has become known as “Biophilic Design.” Biophilic design is based on the concept of biophilia, which is the theory that human beings have an innate tendency to seek out nature, natural elements, and natural forms. Biophilic design is more than hotels simply adding a surplus of plants; it involves incorporating specific design elements into a hotel in order to imbue it with a sense of wellness and well-being. Some of those elements include exposure to natural lighting; views of nature and rooms with a view; natural architectural patterns; salvaged or reclaimed woods of all types; reclaimed metals; sustainably sourced stone; living green walls and vertical gardens; and direct and indirect exposure to nature. Hotels that have incorporated biophilic design into their properties are reaping the benefits associated with this trend including reduced stress responses, better air quality, lower energy costs, and more positive guest reviews. Biophilic design has also been shown to improve guest moods and to satisfy consumer demand for environmental responsibility. Savvy hotel owners and managers are aware that nature-inspired elements enhance their guests' comfort and well-being, which is why this trend is becoming so prevalent. Biophilic design is just one topic in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.