Living room-like public spaces, the elimination of traditional front desks and dual color tones are some design trends hoteliers should be looking forward to in the remainder of 2016 and going into 2017.
GLOBAL REPORT—Traditional front desks are on their way out from hotels while living room-like public areas coming in, and dual color tones and designs centered on culture are making their way into new hotel projects and redesigns, hotel design experts said.
“We’re seeing the dual tones are pretty strong, kind of going from the cool tones back toward warmer, so gray is still huge, but (hotel design colors are) kind of leaning more toward the warmer tones with metal finishes,” said Lesley Hughes Wyman, principal and cofounder at MatchLine Design Group.
Hughes Wyman said elaborate tile designs also are trending, and she expects interest in metal finishes and cool tones to last throughout 2017.
“I think (the trend) will last because we’re seeing a lot of navy, and that’s still going pretty strong on the color front … (As well as) emerald and violet and really saturated tones,” she said. “We’re still working with that, so properties that won’t open for another year are going to have that.”
Changing up lobbies and public spaces
Removing standard check-in desks and designing more social public spaces is a focus throughout the hotel industry, and design leaders said this is likely to continue.
“There’s a lot of effort to get people out of their rooms and into social spaces,” said Jesse MacDougall, director of strategy and brand development at New York City-based innovation and design studio ICRAVE. “A lot of legacy hotel groups are challenged with that concept because they don’t want to marginalize some of the people who rely on the desk in the room.
“But I think that’s going to wane more and more as people age out of the workforce and as people age in. … Those people who are 25 now aren’t traveling that much. They’ll be traveling quite a bit (in 10 years), and I think (the need for social spaces) is going to be driving their decision-making. That’s where the big legacy brands are going to have to bend a bit.”
MacDougall said his company is currently working on designing the Sir Adam Hotel in Amsterdam, which is slated to be completed this fall. The hotel will share space in an old Shell Oil headquarters with dance and music industry offices, nightclubs and more. He said the lobby of the Sir Adam will serve as a cultural hotspot, which will include a burger restaurant.
Hotel design goes through cycles just like the larger industry, said Ron Swidler, principal of branding at The Gettys Group. He said hoteliers should be trying to break that cycle by taking cues from industries that update seasonally, like retail.
“Maybe there’s something the hotel industry could learn from the retail sector to keep things a bit more dynamic,” he said. “The opportunity is to focus on public areas as a signal of change.”
The Gettys Group came up with the living-stage concept at Red Lion Hotels Corporation’s Hotel RL brand to activate public spaces at those properties. Guest musicians and artists perform on the living stage, and performances are recorded and broadcasted at other Hotel RL locations, Swidler said. He said the company is working on another project that focuses on “breaking down barriers between guests and team members,” in the lobby area. The standard front desk was taken out and replaced with long dining room-like tables that have tech equipment to print keys and invoices for guests.
He said the goal is to eventually remove the printers and have the table serve only as a communal space.
Stephanie Tyler, president of International Design Concepts, said her team is designing more welcoming public spaces at hotels.
“We’re seeing that traditional check-in desk really go out, especially in the boutique market,” she said. “We’ve gone from stand-up counters to sit-down, comfortable concierge desks to now we’re really seeing a sort of sofa side kind of check-in with things being done on iPads…It’s a little more welcoming, where you might sit down, be offered a cocktail…And check in that way.”
Indoor/outdoor space, culture-centered design
Tyler said International Design Concepts is currently focused on the Caribbean market, where indoor and outdoor spaces flow together.
“Not that this is a particularly new trend, but it has become even more a bigger way of life, that the lines between interior and exterior living are just sort of blurred,” she said. “You don’t really see that difference, even in furnishings and things.”
Hughes Wyman said MatchLine Design Group’s hotel clients are currently focused on culture-centric design.
“Everyone wants to see (culture) from different parts of the world kind of melted together,” she said. “Whether it be a color scheme of different materials or something that looks more curated through all of the pieces.”
MacDougall said “Bohemian simplicity” is trending in design, and he believes that would work well for hotels in the budget sector.
“It’s got sort of high-touch furnishings, but super simple environmental finishes,” he said “That’s really, I think, going to drive the budget hotel sector because you can make a really beautiful space if you’re not trying to emulate a fancy space, but you’re actually trying to emulate something that’s more pragmatic and simple.
“Simple beauty is a great way for budget-oriented hotels to make a space that’s beautiful and relevant without spending a ton of money.”