When Does Versatility Compromise Luxury?
By Patricia Lopez Associate & Senior Interior Designer, Baskervill | November 22, 2015
Guestrooms are getting smaller. With trendy micro and capsule hotels on the rise, brands everywhere are working with designers to shave off square footage and conceptualize new and improved layouts that use space more efficiently. But designing a versatile room is only functional to a point. If you want to create a space that responds to your guests' needs without compromising the elements that turn a simple hotel stay into a luxury, then you have to strike a balance between tradition and innovation. And it all comes back to the art of crafting an experience.
What's the Big Deal with Versatility?
There's no way around it: the push to reinvent the guestroom is closely tied to an effort to attract Millennial travelers. Millennials approach life differently than the generations before them. They touch down in new places ready to explore, craving a unique experience. They're connected to the world and constantly plugged in-according to the Pew Research Center, 83% have slept or routinely sleep with their phones-and the smartphone of today, which doubles as a calendar, camera, computer, and GPS, is a metaphor for the streamlined way this generation prefers to live.
FutureCast's Millennial Marketing team has noted that the Recession likely sparked an aesthetic "that prizes minimalism and simplicity over luxury and status in the choice of homes, fashion, technology, travel, and more." Designing for a demographic that desires fewer things in exchange for more experiences means recalculating the basic equation of space and furniture that has defined guestrooms for years.
One common casualty of this changing equation? The desk. Millennials value the flexibility of being able to work anywhere, at any time, and brands are discovering that a surprising number of their guests prefer other options-from beanbags on the guestroom floor to chaises in the lobby-to a standardized workspace.
Designers are taking a step back and evaluating each piece with a critical eye: "Why is this here? Is it functional, beautiful, and serving a purpose?" Different brands have offered up different solutions, but ultimately, everyone is trying to design guestrooms that use space efficiently while surprising guests with new options that better accommodate their lifestyle.