Hotels are an essential part of the guest experience whether the stay is for work or pleasure. Facilities are no longer relegated to a place to sleep, change, and perhaps eat. Now they are multidimensional offering a glimpse of local culture, dining, and self-care. Guests not only look forward to relaxing but to discovering new experiences.

With the evolution to a more complete hospitality concept, hotels are no longer designed based on their functionality or the aesthetic taste of investors. Now hotel design must respond to a guest’s entire experience and ideally offer something unique that sets a hotel apart from industry competitors.

Hotel investors dedicate enormous financial resources and time when they commission an architect to design a new hotel or renovate an existing structure. They look to the architect to create the foundation for a unique and lasting experience that will contribute to their brand’s appeal, reputation, and economic return.

Design Philosophy

Architects are now called upon to tell a story through their designs. A design concept will set the stage for the guest experience using materials, textures, forms, and functionality in both private and common areas within the structure. It will influence service facilities such as restaurants, fitness, or wellness centers, and hotel operations.

Lighting and colors can influence if not determine perception and mood, so special attention should be dedicated not only to structural design but to color schemes and the use of texture. The hotel design concept will define what a structure can and will offer its guests. It will also determine the brand and the eventual marketing and communication strategy that a hotel will utilize.

Connecting the Hotel Design to the Location

Climate is a big part of any hotel design as it will determine a hotel’s outdoor offerings from decorating to if and what a guest may be able to experience in outside facilities. An architect will want to consider a building design’s perspective in relation to the sun and natural light. This can heavily influence the choice of materials, colors, and outdoor services the hotel will be able to offer. The design alone is insufficient if it is not integrated with the location’s surroundings and climate.

First Impressions

First impressions can negatively or positively influence the guest experience. The architect must prioritize what a guest will see and feel in the initial seconds of a guest’s arrival and entering the facility. The hotel entrance needs to be a priority within the hotel design concept as it will be the thing that begins the guest experience. While stimulating the senses, it must facilitate the arrivals and exits of both staff and visitors.

The entrance needs to be visible to arriving guests regardless of the hotel building design. Visitors should not be searching for the entrance.  Once guests have entered, the reception area should be welcoming them by communicating a feeling of intimacy and accommodation. This will reinforce the visitor’s choice of the hotel as being a good one. A unique reception design that permits guests to gather will encourage them to photograph and share the experience through social media.

Finally, architects are called upon not to underestimate the importance of the guest’s trip from the hotel reception area to his or her room. The route will need to be intriguing, yet relaxing and pleasurable providing a smooth transition to a private area. Ease and pleasure should characterize the passage from the hotel’s public to private areas from favorable lighting to a convenient key card entry system.

Designing the “Private” Rooms

Space, space, and more space! Areas that appear cramped and cluttered will spoil a room’s layout and potentially put a damper on a guest’s visit. The room is the traveler’s haven while away from home, so dividing its design into differing areas will facilitate a guest’s needs for sleep, restoration, and perhaps a little work on the side.

Beds should be comfortable with easy-to-use lighting, nightstands, and charging spots nearby for mobile devices. Closets, shoe spaces, and storage spaces should be ample without contributing to clutter and bathrooms should offer spacious showers and bathtubs with easy-to-reach towels and bathrobes nearby.

A space for luggage should be part of your design, especially for guests planning to stay for longer periods. The design should be simple and efficacious to maximize convenience for the hotel guest. Then lighting, colors, materials, textures, and interior décor can then complete the guest’s sensorial experience.

Hotel Common Areas and Their Contribution to the Guest Experience

Common areas dedicated to restoration, socialization, and activities offered by hotel management can make or break the guest experience. Common zones may include restaurants, bars, cafes, lounges, breakfast areas, pool areas, fitness and spa areas, and conference halls. These zones can complete a visitor’s experience and define an overall opinion because they are an integral part of the property. Common zones can also prove to be crucial to a hotel’s branding strategy.

Spa offerings or conference centers may function effectively as meeting or relaxation spots not only for visitors but for location residents as well, increasing the hotel’s attractiveness and potential income. Hotels that offer lively and welcoming areas for socialization not only benefit overnight guests but can increase daily revenue.

Final Remarks

The architect must through his or her design convey the hotel’s core message. Whether that is convenience and functionality or visiting the warmth of a good friend’s home, the design is the foundation upon which that message will be developed and conveyed.

A hotel is a living structure dedicated to a myriad of human experiences including rest, entertainment, relaxation, self-care, socialization, and gastronomic pleasure. It is a place where people can create memories that will last a lifetime. It is not only about telling a story but about helping visitors create and enrich their personal stories.

Architects are called upon to design hotels that complete the guest experience, and how they will be treated and catered to within hotel premises. They design on a blank canvas dedicated to the human experience and all that it can encompass.


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