With debate around public spaces in hotels ongoing, both on a design as well as a functional level, we take a look at some of the key areas and how they are changing the shape of the hotel experience from the minute we make a grand, or should that be an understated, entrance…
The public space in any hotel is where the designer makes the opening comment. It tells the story of what is to follow behind closed doors, and as such is key to the brand narrative. Theses spaces are influenced by social trends, and in some cases can even lead in breaking established patterns within the hospitality design industry. The key debates broadly within the sector are visibly put into practice in these spaces. We thought we would take a look at some of these conversations and identify how they are being translated into the design and function of the public spaces.
The Arrival experience is all about making a statement, setting the tone. There are increasingly high design expectations, and the public space in a hotel is at the forefront of this. It needs to make an impression the minute a guest steps through the doors, if not before. In some cases the space needs to translate to social media platforms, while in others it might be all about privacy and discretion. As hotels move away from the brand standard approach, fabulous and idiosyncratic design is no longer the realm of the small boutique hotel but is being integrated into designs across the board. The 25hours brand is one example that prides itself on its ‘if you know one you know none’ approach, making each hotel an independent and unique design statement. On the other hand you have luxury hotels EDITION keeping a certain amount of design coherence running through their locations but still providing unique immersive designs.
Technology in public spaces can cause division and debate; while for some the more connected and seamless the hotel experience the better, while others want a complete break from the day to day demands of technology that can be overwhelming. In the public hotel realm it is surely a question of balance. The balance between connectivity and connection is key as hotels face the apparent contradictions between technology, and that ever important human contact that can define a hotel experience. If properly harnessed these two views are not as contradictory as it would seem – while technology reduces the need for contact and can make things seamless and even faceless, the flipside of a curated use of technology is the potential for increased space for true public areas. Instead of a large amount of space being taken up by what is essentially admin, this space can be used to connect in real time with real people over a coffee or a cocktail, or, with any luck, both.