Architecture and design is a field that covers a broad spectrum of typologies. Whether it be a public park, a railway station, a bus stop, or even a structure, everything today is designed by designers of various fields in architecture. Hotels have become quite omnipresent over time. The concept of the hotel design has been to provide hospitality to travelers since ancient times, and today, it has evolved differently, adapting itself according to various cultures and traditions. Today, we would see how hotel design has transformed its past, present, and future over time.

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Refurbishment of Hotel Fouquet Barrière _©Laurian Ghinitoiu

Hotel design is not just limited to designing accommodations and meals for travelers, but it is deeply rooted in providing hospitality to guests. The hospitality towards guests was also evident in ancient times when the Greeks produced thermal baths in the village to give rest and leisure to the travelers. Even the Romans built mansions and buildings to provide accommodation to the travelers. The history and past of hotel design are interlaced with the traditions of civilizations. Later in the middle ages, the monasteries, temples, and abbeys established refugee camps for the local travelers and guests to rest in religious orders. The inns and refugee areas bloomed, but they didn’t provide meals to them. The government made staging posts for taking rest and providing a space to change the horse. Some inns like l’ Auberge des Trois Rois in Basle are still famous to date for their hospitality and facilities.

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l’ Auberge des Trois Rois in Basle _©

Beginning of the Hotel Industry

By now, people understood the needs of lounging and hotels, and thus the upcoming hotels began to get registered. At this time, Hotel design was budding in the industry, and England came up with about 600 inns being registered. Their design generally had interior courts and arched porches with bedrooms at the sides of the courtyard, the services like stable rooms at the back and public rooms and kitchens at the front. Later in England, this hotel industry expanded, and now signages were hung in front of the hotel to direct the people easily. About half a century later, the English also decided to include clubs and masonic lodges in the hotel design. In fact, in Paris, during the reign of King Louis XIV, the hotels at Place Vendone became one of the finest examples of hotels. It was the first example of a multi-use architecture complex having many other boutiques, shops, offices, and hotels in the same complex.

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Hotel Relais St Honore at PLace Vendome_©

Hotel design of 19th and 20th century

The 19th century was the time of the Industrial Revolution, which facilitated hotel construction and increased its pace. Building hotels in the city center spread from New York to Copenhagen and then to many other places. Later in the 1800s, after the construction of Hotel Royal, hotel construction spread in French and Italian cities. Meanwhile, in India, the Dak Bungalows provided the required accommodation to travelers. 

Meanwhile, on the western side, the hotels were getting more and more advanced with time. Holt Hotel in New York City was the first to provide a lift for luggage. The Shepherds hotel in Cairo resulted in the complete transformation of the ancient city center harem, where women were restricted. 

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Holt’s Hotels_©

Till this time, hotels have become more sophisticated with better rooms and dining areas. The year 1829 was considered as the landmark in the timeline of the Hotel Industry. American architect Isaiah Rogers had designed the first-ever luxury hotel “Tremont Hotel” in Boston, Massachusetts, which had private attached bathrooms and locks on the door. It also used advanced technologies like powered pumps to lift water which was very new to the era.

The hotel created a whole new trend of Luxuries hotels. Later, hotels began to have bars and public lounges there. Later, the aesthetics and architecture of the hotels improved as well-decorated ceilings and massive chandeliers came into existence.

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Tremont Hotel in Boston was the first luxurious Hotel_©,_Boston.jpg

Hotel Design in the 20th century became an emerging business industry now, which made aesthetics and architecture necessary. People started to approach architectural firms to incorporate newer and newer technologies in their hotels. Meanwhile, giant players in the hotel industry like Marriot, Sheraton, Hyatt, and many others emerged. Cars also became popular at that time, which made it easier for people to travel and thus increased the need for people to stay in hotels. By this time, the concept of motel emerged as well. 

The Present – 21st century with the evolution of technology

The 21st century witnessed many more transformations with technological interventions. Some of the tallest and luxurious hotels were built in the 21st century. The Burj Khalifa, Hotel Fairmont Makkah, and Burj al Arab are the few out of many examples of hotel design of the 21st century. When Airbnb opened up in 2008, it gave the hotel industry a different turn. Today, the hotel is not just about a resting place while traveling; in fact, it has become a place for leisure. Moreover, there is a hike in solo travelers these days, which affects the architectural designs. They are not bothered about the amenities and are okay with sharing spaces, interacting, and communicating with fellow travelers. 

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Young Travellers love traveling solo and sharing spaces _©

Today we know about various services and technologies along with the evolution of human behavior in traveling. The concept of solo traveling has led to the trend of Youth Hostels and home hospitalities as well. All these factors have led to the construction of hotels with an inclination to apply classic history touches while incorporating modern services and technologies.  Today, the hotel industry has become an essential part of the world economy, making it necessary for the design to impact society. We can observe that architectural Marvels and famous building structures are generally public typologies primarily related to tourism. This is because these structures serve as the symbol and landmark of a particular City when built and attract many other people to visit it, more often increasing the economy. In the case of hotels, people are highly attracted by their modern looks and facilities because today traveling has become more of a leisure activity rather than being related to work. There is no single style for Hotel design,  but it incorporates the current architectural style of the area so that it becomes relevant to the cities context. 

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Burj Al Arab_©

The Future of Hotel Design

The future of Hotel Design is very diverse. A hotel is a building typology governed by the community, current design and architectural trends, cultural factors, economy, target users, and many others. What we had imagined two years earlier about the future of hotel design was very different from what we imagine now. Today, the world is dealing with a more significant issue of the covid pandemic, which has shaken the world and led to many industries’ failure. Hotel Industry was one of the significantly affected sectors as there was no tourism and no lodging or dining requirements. Though the situation is gradually normalizing, this has changed the way we see the future of architecture as a whole. 

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The rooms in the hotel become more private spaces, connected with nature and focusing on well-being._©

Covid has made people think about social distancing as a significant factor while designing. Apart from the safety factor, designers also see massive potential in the hotel design as many sustainability goals can be implemented here. In other words, future hotels seek to be more competent in terms of services, facilities provided, and energy usage. People are looking for diversification in this field and making hotels more and more active neighborhood participants. Many innovations like the designs of individual sleeping pods or shared spaces have created comprehensive options for the users to choose from, increasing for years. Overall, the Hotel Burjgn has faced several changes and transformations. This will continue in the future, too, while involving and dealing with higher technological aids in the design.

Sleeping Pods are also becoming a trend in hotel design._©

Currently in her 3rd year of Architecture at IIT Roorkee, Muskan believes that architecture has the potential to shape this world and its future. Being a keen observer, she always finds connection between architecture and human psychology. Besides this, she also loves art, music, movies and connecting with others.