Architecture & Design: Expecting the Unexpected

There are more than 700,000 hotels and resorts worldwide and the hotel industry is continually looking for new ways to differentiate its properties. In some cases, hotels themselves have become travel destinations and guests have come to expect the unexpected - to experience the touches that make the property unlike any other place in the world. To achieve this, architects and designers are adopting a variety of strategies to meet the needs of every type of guest and to provide incomparable customer experiences. One such strategy is site-integration - the effort to skillfully marry a hotel to its immediate surroundings. The goal is to honor the cultural location of the property, and to integrate that into the hotel's design - both inside and out. Constructing low-impact structures that blend in with the environment and incorporating local natural elements into the design are essential to this endeavor. Similarly, there is an ongoing effort to blur the lines between interior and exterior spaces - to pull the outside in - to enable guests to connect with nature and enjoy beautiful, harmonious surroundings at all times. Another design trend is personalization - taking the opportunity to make every space within the hotel original and unique. The days of matching decor and furniture in every room are gone; instead, designers are utilizing unexpected textures, mix-and-match furniture, diverse wall treatments and tiles - all to create a more personalized and fresh experience for the guest. Finally, lobbies are continuing to evolve. They are being transformed from cold, impersonal, business-like spaces into warm, inviting, living room-like spaces, meant to provide comfort and to encourage social interaction. These are a few of the current trends in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.

Library Archives

Scott Lee

Evolution of the hospitality market has accelerated over the past decade with the emergence of new brands and the ever-changing needs and desires of the discerning traveler. Today's travelers are looking for new experiences that will create moments of discovery and mold memories for the future. As we draw on each destination's specific history, culture, people, and natural features, we create experiences that celebrate the place and connect guests with the unique location. We accomplish this by carefully crafting the architecture, interior design, and outdoor spaces around exclusive guest experiences. READ MORE

David C. Marr

As more travelers desire diverse interactions, hotels and resorts have answered the call by revamping public spaces to be more engaging and energizing. Embracing natural light, merging indoor and outdoor settings and introducing venues like rooftop lounges have allowed hotels to implement the latest hotel design and architecture trends while providing guests with a new way to interact with both the property and each other. Dave Marr, senior vice president and global head of Hilton's full service brands, outlines how Hilton hotels across the portfolio have evolved public spaces through smart design and innovative natural features. READ MORE

John Tess

The hospitality industry has come a long way from the time that Holiday Inn made its mark through standardization. Much of today's travel is about new experience and authenticity. Many hotel developers and brands are responding to this market segment with new construction. Heritage's experience over the past three decades suggests that a smarter and better path is through the redevelopment of the Grand Dame hotels and the adaptive reuse of vintage buildings. Both are integral to their communities and tied directly their history and character. READ MORE

Andrea Sheehan

Socially activated, highly charged environments, stimulating and engaging on every level: has become the norm for the hospitality industry. The never-ending demand for originality in the ever-changing world of luxury is a tough game. It takes courage to stay relevant, to take risks and to remain in the public eye. We can't expect favors, either from the Press or the Social Media, letting our failures slide. How do we stay up to the constant and increasing demand to deliver "blockbuster experiences" and "Instagram Moments" with every hotel we open or renovate? How do we stay ahead of our guest's ever changing needs and demands when our world is defined by emails and tweets, thumbs up and thumbs down? It takes a little sorcery, and sorcery is demanding. Every detail must work. No one wants to hire a Sorcerer's Apprentice. READ MORE

Jack Portman

In 1967, the Hyatt Regency Atlanta's revolutionary architecture introduced the modern atrium concept. At that time, soaring and expansive interior space was unexpected in urban hotel design. The public was captivated! The hotel was such a rousing success that it launched Hyatt as a major brand. The concept has since been copied in hotels the world over. Today, designing people space into hospitality is as effective as ever. It has morphed beyond the atrium to engage the public in distinctive ways while providing hotel operators flexible space that facilitates a quick response to unexpected demands now and into the future. READ MORE

Adrianne Korczynski

Boutique hotel brands embrace who they are through a strong point of view and a propensity for great storytelling. They know they can't be all things to all people. They leverage truly local and customized narratives – that cleverly connect to the community – and provide guests with curated amenities and distinct service culture moments. These specialized environments have identified how to infuse unique experiences into travel, with a renewed spirit and true sense of hospitality. In this current hospitality climate, it's important that we start listening to our specialized, more nimble brethren – and emulate their anti-commodity mindset. They're bringing sexy back to travel … one guest experience at a time. READ MORE

T. Dupree Scovell

Wherever your hotel happens to be, it's always possible to use your location and its natural assets to differentiate your destination from the competition-whether it's seasons or a lack of them; access to a bustling city center or a welcomed distance from one; backdrops of beaches or parkland and then some. At Mountain Shadows Resort, our development team sought to turn our desert setting (heat and all) into a hot commodity by applying an outside-in approach to design, architecture and programming. The result? Cool experiences that allow guests to admire and enjoy the great outdoors all year long. READ MORE

Lisa Simeone

In today's ever-changing, fast-paced world, our exposure to what's new, what's better and what people are experiencing locally as well as globally has changed exponentially. As such, a more sophisticated traveler has become the norm which has reshaped the landscape of hotel design. No longer is it acceptable to simply satisfy guests, rather, hoteliers, developers, architects and designers are in constant pursuit of how to create spaces that "transport" guests to another place and provide them with memories that are timeless, unexpected, unforgettable and experiential. With this in mind, and with more than 30 years of experience positioning lifestyle and hospitality brands in the global marketplace, Lisa Simeone shares her insights and perspectives for delivering high-end luxury and forward-thinking authenticity through experiential design. READ MORE

Alexandra Glickman

"Experience" is the watchword for the Hospitality sector, but there is hidden exposure, both financial and physical in every operating property. As assets work to differentiate themselves by amenities, physical attributes and "one of a kind" offerings, there is the constant exposure to financial risk caused by natural and man-made physical damage to the asset as well as potential injury to guests and employees. This article identifies key issues in all of the phases of an assets operations: Development; Operational and Post-Loss Recovery. READ MORE

Eric Rahe

Just as multifamily developers aim to recreate the hotel experience, hoteliers are hoping to emulate the comforts of home. The two arenas feed into each other, spurring a friendly arms race that improves the experience of both. To compete with AirBnB and extended stay hotels for the coveted business guest, traditional hotels are taking a leaf out of the multifamily playbook. In this article, BLT Architects' Principal Eric Rahe explores how hoteliers are placing a tactful emphasis on the qualities that truly make us feel at home: personalization, continuity of routine, and a sense of belonging. READ MORE

Monika Moser

Why is the current trend to search for the unexpected? Isn't it a risk to take away the comfort zone for our clients? Does unexpected design really favor social interaction or is the hotel just a place to sleep? What is the impact of the social life in a city of new experiences for the client? More and more designers and hotel developers are asked to create the unexpected experience and ones that tell an exciting story. READ MORE

Randa Tukan

How can hotels design the unexpected and prepare for what lies ahead, anticipating guests' wants and needs? Are there properties or spaces that are more adept at delivering what will meet or exceed guests' expectations? Conversions are becoming increasingly popular as they not only bring a sense of exploration and discovery, but also a strong narrative. In addition to having a sense of place and history, conversions also enhance sustainability and are able to create a brand. This article will examine those design elements that help set the stage for delivering elusive and invaluable hotel "unexpected" experiences that are top-of-mind. READ MORE

Anna Kreyling

What's possible when hoteliers reframe their approach and role within a design initiative? Here's a story about a historic property and ownership group that recommitted itself to its city through an immersive reinvention for both the hotel and its operations model. The results: a 15% uptick in occupancy and a whopping 282% increase in revenues associated with its restaurant and catering. We'll explore a few staff-to-guest connection strategies that evolved from this simple and cost-effective mind shift. Why this matters? We're in a new age where great design alone isn't enough to woo consumers. READ MORE

Dirk Lohan

This article describes the redevelopment of historical buildings into new hotels. The design of hotels is especially suited to fit into older buildings which have lost their original purpose as the various functions of hotels are quite flexible and don't need to be the same all the time. The architect Dirk Lohan discusses the wonderful experiences travelers can have by staying at such hotels which have become quite ubiquitous. He features five unique historical hotels around the world and expresses the hope that this trend will continue to give the travelling public more choices for memorable experiences. READ MORE

Brian Murch

Today's travelers are looking for engaging guest experiences that offer an authentic connection to the local community. For many national brands, this means designing unique hotel environments that feel rooted in each location. From the food they serve, to the art they display, to the entertainment they provide, we take a look at how hotel flags are infusing local influences into their designs to create one-of-a-kind experiences deeply-rooted in a sense of place. READ MORE

Tammy S. Miller

Expecting the unexpected: With significant competition to attract travelers and their getaway dollars, hotels are working hard to become destinations and offer something authentic and original to their guests beckoning them to visit. One design strategy for enhancing the travelers experience is to look to nature and outside surroundings, integrating the locale and culture into the interiors of the hotel space. Combining nature with beauty, wellness, uniqueness and healthy food creates an opportunity for each property to be a sought after destination. There is an ongoing effort in hotel design to attract guests by pulling the outside in and creating harmony with the local environment. READ MORE

Coming up in July 2019...

Hotel Spa: Pursuing Distinction

The Wellness Movement continues to evolve and hotel spas continue to innovate in order to keep pace. Fueled by intense competition within the industry, hotel spas are seeking creative ways to differentiate themselves in the market. An increasing number of customers are searching for very specific, niche treatments that address their particular health concerns and, as a result, some leading spas have achieved distinction by offering only one specialized treatment. Meditation and mindfulness practices are becoming increasingly mainstream as are alternative treatments and therapies, such as Ayurvedic therapies, Reiki, energy work and salt therapy. Some spas specialize in stress management and offer lifestyle coaching sessions as part of their program.  Other spas are fully embracing new technologies as a way to differentiate themselves, such as providing wearable devices that track health and fitness biomarkers, or robots programmed with artificial intelligence to control spa environments, or virtual reality add-ons that transport guests to relaxing places around the world. Some spas have chosen to specialize in medical procedures such as liposuction, laser skin therapy, phototherapy facials, Botox and facial fillers, acupuncture and permanent hair removal, in addition to cosmetic body shaping procedures and  teeth whitening treatments. Similarly, other spas are offering comprehensive health check-ups and counseling services for those who are interested in disease prevention treatments. Finally, as hotel spas continue to become more diverse, accessible and specialized, there is a growing demand for health professionals with a specific area of expertise. There is a proliferation of top class, quality wellness practitioners who make a name for themselves by offering their services around the globe, including athletes, chefs, doctors, physical trainers and weight loss specialists. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.