Industry Update
Press Release19 September 2016

The changing face of hotel lobbies over the past 25 years

Tech twists, art galleries and game zones, Instagram-able lobby spaces, the quirky features taking over the modern lobby and 11 leading lobbies from around the world.

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Tech twists, art galleries and game zones, Instagram-able lobby spaces, the quirky features taking over the modern lobby and 11 leading lobbies from around the world.


We all know that exciting feeling of walking through the front door of a hotel and into the lobby, knowing at that moment your vacation has officially begun. That first impression is cemented in your mind the second your eyes see the lobby and it sets the tone for your whole hotel experience.

Lobbies have long been the heart and soul of a hotel, but they're the part that's changed the most over the years. As® celebrates its 25th birthday this year, it takes a look back at the lobby evolution over the past quarter of a century, as these welcome hubs have changed from mere check in points to becoming the real heartbeat of a hotel.

The Role of the Lobby

Once regarded as a simple thoroughfare for guests and often a subdued, lifeless empty space, the hotel lobby has evolved into a multi-functional and often a magical space, with eye-catching features, unusual services or fun discoveries.

It's still an area for checking in and out, but it's also a social hub, a place to wine and dine, a party zone and even a remote office. The biggest changes have come thanks to advances in technology, as today's modern lobby must be Instagram-ready and offer connectivity at every turn.

As a leading lodging expert for the past 25 years, reveals some of the most outstanding, quirky and wonderful hotel lobbies that showcase some of the best lobby features that never existed a quarter of a century ago.

The Playground Lobby – Slide on in!

4 star Barcelo Malaga

This is a lobby that you can slide into in style. The Barcelo Malaga is a designer hotel in the heart of Malaga, with a cutting-edge lobby area you have to see to believe. The main attraction is the giant stainless steel slide known as the EDHA (meaning "sliding structure for daring humans" in Spanish). This impressive slide takes guests straight from the first floor to the hotel's trendy B-Lounge bar. It's perfect if you're in a hurry for a tasty cocktail.

The Coffee Connoisseur Lobby

5 star Lux Belle Mare, Mauritius
The second you step into the luxurious open-air lobby of the Lux Belle Mare in Mauritius, you know you're in paradise. The serene setting has a stunning water feature, relaxed seating area and an unexpected but delightful waft of coffee in the air as you step inside. This is because the lobby is also home to Café Lux, an impressive coffee bar where every day you can enjoy coffee tastings from trained Baristas and even watch the coffee beans being roasted, before they're shipped off to other hotels on the island.

The Garden Lobby

5 star Hotel ICON, Hong Kong

Asia's largest indoor vertical garden designed by world-famous botanist, Patrick Blanc, can be found towering above the lobby space of Hotel Icon, in Hong Kong's lively Kowloon district. At this super stylish hotel, greenery meets a great view, as the indoor garden, which features over 8,000 plants, acts as the entrance to the lobby café Green, a sleek place to grab a bite amidst the bustling city.

11 Leading 'Lobbyists' from around the world

  • 5 Star Ace Hotel London Shoreditch
  • 4 Star CitizenM New York Times Square
  • 4 star Barcelo Malaga
  • 4 star Room Mate Grace, New York
  • 4 star Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour, Sydney
  • 4 star U&Me Hotel, Umeå in Sweden
  • 5 star Lux Belle Mare, Mauritius
  • 5 star Hotel ICON, Hong Kong
  • 4 Star Hotel Zetta San Francisco
  • 5 star Molitor Paris by MGallery
  • 5 star InterContinental Hong Kong

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