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Hotel Design Trends We Love

Hotel lobby front desk
Say good-bye to the hotel lobby front desk.

Clunky check-in desks, energy inefficiency, and floor-after-floor of identical rooms are becoming things of the past in today’s hotels. Hospitality design is certainly moving in exciting directions! Here’s a look at some our favorite trends, as well as a round-up of hotels that showcase them.

Going Green/Eco-Friendly

A growing number of people are selecting hotels based on sustainability. While there are a number of hotels enhancing sustainability in creative ways, there are only five in North America to have achieved LEED platinum certification, and they are: Hotel Skyler, Proximity Hotel, Bardessono, College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, and W San Francisco.

Emphasizing the Past

Many people are drawn to properties that have an interesting history. Historic hotels have a charm that’s not homogenized, and according to a study commissioned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, nearly 80 percent of American travelers prefer to stay in historic neighborhoods and buildings to experience a sense of authenticity in a destination. The National Trust created the Historic Hotels of America (HHA) program in 1989 originally with 34 member properties. Today, there 236 members representing the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. You can access the list and even make your reservations here.

Saying Goodbye to the Front Desk

The front desk we’ve always known is on its way out. Say good-bye to the barrier between hotel and guest, as well as tedious check-ins, as more and more hotels are inventing streamlined (and hopefully more enjoyable) check-in processes. At the Andaz West Hollywood, for example, guests relax on comfortable furniture enjoying wine, coffee or soda while roaming hosts with iPads check them in. In the Courtyard by Marriot’s recent lobby redesign, the big imposing front desk has been dumped in favor of “welcome pedestals,” where personnel handle the checkins and check-outs and other guests’ needs, too.

Blending Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

Blurring the line between indoors and outside is a design strategy that’s here to stay for several reasons. More and more, people are aspiring to live green with access to fresh air and gardens. It’s also very possibly a backlash to technology since most of us are on computers all day. People want to get back to nature when they’re away from their work and home environments. Many hotels are expanding nature’s soothing embrace to ensure that guests can enjoy beautiful surroundings 24 hours a day. A great example is 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach which was designed to reflect the natural world, with 3,000 feet of living wall wrapping the exterior, made up of 11,000 local tropical plant varieties. Another one is Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozark mountains – an 18,000-square-foot wilderness-inspired spa with aspen trees, river stones and moss flanking the hallway entrance.

Not only does GIO offer the latest in architectural tile and stone, we offer dedicated support – we’re  here to work with you!  Contact us to get our insights on trends in surfacing to enhance your next hospitality design project. 

Photo credit: Courtesy of Prayitno via Flickr Creative Commons. Click Image to view source.

The New Wow Factor in Hotel Design: Hypoallergenic Rooms

hotel room

Hotel rooms can be problematic places for those who suffer from allergies, triggering a slew of reactions ranging from sniffles, sneezes, and itchy eyes to full-blown asthma symptoms. As more hotels try to set themselves apart, a new trend has emerged: the hypoallergenic hotel room – a concept that isn’t aimed just at the allergic, but also at guests who are concerned with what is sometimes referred to as the “ick factor.”

While the creation of super-clean rooms is definitely a way for hotels to gain an edge in an age where luxury has become the norm, it’s no small task. Most of the major chains now have a number of hypoallergenic rooms which have been sterilized, sanitized, and deodorized to the extreme. Medical-grade air purifiers are added to filter out 98% to 100% of viruses and bacteria. Mattresses and pillows are encased in protective hypoallergenic covering to protect against dust mites, and fabrics are scrubbed with special solutions and protected with anti-allergen products.

But the purifying of hotel rooms doesn’t stop with this extreme sanitizing process; hotels are also renovating rooms to make them even healthier for allergy sufferers. Carpets are being ripped out and replaced with hard surfaces, and wood blinds are taking the place of curtains. Large format, porcelain tile panels have recently become an excellent alternative to wallpaper, and some hotels in Europe are experimenting with headboards and platform beds designed with tile.

Hotels do charge a premium (usually 5 to 10%) for these super sanitized rooms, but allergy sufferers say it’s well worth it, and many say they would pay more!

Give your hospitality designs the new wow factor!  GIO brings you a carefully curated selection of beautiful, sanitary and hypoallergenic porcelain tile and stone products developed expressly for your commercial design projects. Turn to us for the latest solutions in architectural surfacing –we’re here to work with you!

Hospitality Design: Designing Hotels for Millennials

Millenial marketingMillennials, born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s and with an estimated population of 70 to 80 million, are the fast-growing segment of today’s business travelers.  It has been forecasted that 24 percent of millennials plan to take more overnight trips in 2015 and this means hoteliers and designers must hone a millennial mindset.

Understanding how millennials think and act is key to understanding how to design for them. Millennials are a unique group–having grown up on technology. They are confident, high performance multi-taskers who value personal fulfillment, a work-life balance and flexibility. Though generally optimistic, millennials can be high-maintenance.

Millennials are known to be are genuinely interested in interacting and engaging with brands. Though they are open and willing to try new brands, that doesn’t necessarily make them loyal or easy to please. And if they aren’t pleased, they are very likely to broadcast their thoughts on social media. How can hoteliers attract this demographic? Here are five things to know about millennials as you address their needs in hotel design:

1. Millennials don’t like standing in line, and they would rather order online than talk to a person.

Hotels should be ever more accessible to the Internet, allowing these tech-savvy travelers the ability to use personal devices to check in, access their room, and request room services. This mindset could eventually lead to the demise of the time-consuming check-in at a  formal front desk.

2. Millennials expect technology to be foundational to their travel experience.

Design should be infused with technology that goes beyond just providing easy access to WI-FI throughout facilities. Spaces should be designed so that the cell signals are not impeded. Guest rooms and common areas should provide ample plugs/charging areas. Smart technology should enhance and offer ease and luxury in guest rooms.

3. Millennials are interested in collaboration and social interaction.

This generation wants the option to get out of their rooms and be with other people. Designing for millennials means creating inviting common areas, enhanced lobbies, and flexible, multi-functional public spaces, and unique bar environments that encourage and promote socializing and collaboration. Hoteliers who want to cater to millennials will likely funnel more of their design budget into gathering spaces that act as an extension of the accommodations experience, creating places where guests and locals can interact.

4. Millennials like to be “connected” to their surroundings.

Millennials want to have an “experience,” so geographic location becomes all the more important. They want to be in more urban, active, mixed-use environments and hotels should also assimilate the culture and energy of their locations in the design.

5. Millennials want cool, Instagrammable spaces for photo opps and social sharing.

Millennials, constantly absorbed in media, are accustomed to visual stimulation and have trained eyes for cool design and fine products. They live well documented lives in which they use social media to share their notable moments and special events. In creating beautiful hotel spaces, you can provide backdrops for millennial guests to snap and share online, in addition to enjoying in real life. As you design, consider every corner to be a potential setting for photos, videos and the like. In choosing flattering lighting and “must see” decorative details, you can design spaces that will consistently earn tags, likes, and follows.

GIO brings you a carefully curated selection of tile and stone products developed expressly for your commercial design projects. Our looks cover a range of styles to transform commercial spaces. From retail and restaurants to hospitals and hospitality, we’ve assembled an assortment of collections in styles befitting the gamut of spaces you may be called to design.