The Five Most Important Areas of Your Hotel: Paying Attention to Focal Points Will Pay Big Dividends
By Amy Locke Director, Interior Design, Hatchett Hospitality | November 2010
Every hotel renovation or new build involves plenty of "to do" lists. Here's one that's short and should help the finished project succeed – spectacularly.
Research shows that it takes as little as three seconds for us to form our impression of a new person or place. This first impression is nearly impossible to change and it sets the tone for the remainder of the relationship.
That's why your lobby is important – because it's where guests start their visit and where they learn what to expect in every space of your hotel. It's also where guests end their visit, so the lobby may determine IF the guest intends to return at all.
The lobby is among an owners' – and a designer's – toughest challenges because it must present a look that carefully blends brand standards, geographic location, and client mix, without forgetting the budget. So how can your lobby create a "WOW" factor with visitors? Consider these ideas:
- Use architectural elements to interest the eye and create a dramatic look. Examples include arches that are trimmed with thick wood molding, columns covered in marble or exotic woods, and dome or barrel ceilings featuring a mural.
- Use design features to convey a comfortable feeling that welcomes and soothes. For example, create the appeal of an outdoor atrium by strategically combining a skylight with lots of greenery and open space. Or have a cozy courtyard by using greenery to surround a fountain or other water element. Other options are a floor-to-ceiling stacked stone wall, a dramatic over-sized fireplace, or a large waterfall.
- Use upscale trim materials such as woodwork, stone, and granite to create eye-popping appeal on wall panels, front desk, and buffet/beverage bar. Be creative with both the materials you use and where you use them. And for the budget-conscious, there are many great looking "faux" options.
- Use space and furniture to design a living room-like lobby which has some open space, but also plenty of alcoves for privacy. Today's lobby serves as part business center, part meeting place, and part meal area. This type of multi-purpose lobby appeals to travelers who want to work with colleagues or socialize with friends without going to a guest room.