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Brian West

Having working in the Meeting and Incentive industry my comprehension of hotel design has been enriched. From the meeting planners perspective my consideration of the hotel facility was based on a properties flexability, and overall apperance. Pairing my meeting planner experience with my knowledge as a designer I am equally aware that the durability of the FF&E within a hotel property is paramount to the success of the hotel and I strive to place as much intelligently designed product within a property. In this article I bring to the forefront a few concepts designers should keep in mind when working with the operators of hotel properties. These considerations should assist in assuring that both the designer and the operator are working toward the same goal - to create spaces that achieve the greatest ROI. Read on...

John Tess

It is an extreme example, but in the 1970s, grain silos in downtown Akron, Ohio were transformed into a Hilton Hotel. Though the example is quirky, it illustrates how hotel architecture is responding to the desire of a seemingly ever growing market of urban adventurers looking for memorable spaces. This affinity for "character" has led to the rise of boutique hotels, defined not only by size, but by design - typically historic in nature. One of the pioneers was Bill Kimpton, whose foresight created the Kimpton Group. Others leaders in the field include Ian Shrager and Andre Balazs. This affinity for character has also prompted larger projects, such as Sage Development's proposed Marriott Renaissance in a redeveloped Portland, Oregon department store which will have 330 rooms. As a result of the success of these and other pioneers, hotel developers are often on the prowl of unique opportunities, thinking about the hotel potential of transforming warehouses, office buildings, Masonic temples, train stations and more. Read on...

Kim Hehir

We have seen an interesting evolution in hotel design over past several decades. At the beginning of the 20th century, the wealthy traveled in grand style at a leisurely pace, with vast amounts of luggage and, quite frequently, large numbers of staff. The design of the hotels that catered to them reflected that style, in size, proportion and atmosphere. The tumult of the 20s, 30s, and 40s disrupted travel patterns, but when people began traveling more consistently in the ensuing years, the look and feel of hotels changed. As travelers became more sophisticated, the demand arose for hotels with design elements that spoke of the destination; that used indigenous concepts and materials to help create a total experience. This demand for authenticity is very strong today. Read on...

John Tess

When renovating and refurbishing, the owners of hotel properties need to think about the potential use of federal investment tax credits for historic preservation. These credits are most typically found in the context of a "soup-to-nuts" building rehabilitation, that is, those occasions when a property is adapted to hotel use. However, the use of these tax credits need not be defined in such narrow context. Without thinking about it, owners may well leave money on the table. Tax credits need to be distinguished from tax deductions. An income tax deduction lowers the amount of income subject to taxation. A tax credit, however, lowers the amount of the tax owed. In general, a dollar of tax credit reduces the amount of income tax owed by one dollar. The federal government offers tax credits for the rehabilitation of older buildings... Read on...

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Coming up in May 2019...

Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.