A Look at the Next Generation of Urban Hotels
By Amanda Hertzler Executive Managing Director & Director of Design, MKDA | October 29, 2017
American travelers over the years have become accustomed to a handful of hotel brands and their tried-and-true amenities-room service, fine dining and business centers-but the next generation of urban hotels, particularly those in emerging neighborhoods, are turning convention on its head.
In fact, we are bearing witness to one of the most substantial transformations of the hotel industry since the 1970s, which saw the proliferation of business-centered hotels and hotel brands that began to offer more spacious rooms, more refined cuisine, and more modern amenities in response to customers' wishes.
With the Millennial generation now a significant portion of the traveling and working public, however, the modern customer profile has changed. Millennials want less, and with their mobile technology, need less. As such, hotels are limiting amenities and connecting to high-amenity neighborhoods to offer unique hotel products and genuine local experiences.
The proliferation of Airbnb-an online marketplace that enables travelers to lease or rent short-term lodging-is behind much of the ongoing transformation. Travelers are turning to Airbnb, where they can find unique local travel experiences, rather than corporate hotel brands, which tend to isolate themselves from local culture.
As a result, more and more urban hotels are taking cues from their surroundings. In cities like New York in the North and Louisville in the South-with their deep, rich economic histories and industrial enclaves-there are numerous adaptive reuse hotels that have drawn inspiration from their historic buildings' early lives as warehouses and factories.
In the process, architects are putting the spotlight on industrial detailing like soaring ceilings, large windows, distressed hardwood floors, metal beams and the like, and complementing them with modern elements such as mosaic tile floors, leather, copper accents, and local art. Unique details are added that reflect the buildings' former uses, creating genuine visual and experiential opportunities. The results are beautiful, earthy, experiential, memorable and relevant.
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