The contemporary traveler sees a hotel more than just a place to sleep and take a shower. The hotel has become part of the travel experience and sometimes an important part of a traveler’s escapade. Hotel owners/managers and interior designers who understand the new role of the hotel (including rooms, public spaces, dining options, recreational facilities and amenities) are finding repeat guest and word-of-mouth referrals. The hotels that continue to take a cookie cutter approach to lodging, are wondering why their rooms are only filled when prices are discounted.
For hoteliers looking for new ideas, the Boutique Design New York (BDNY) has become a big deal. For 2 days, over 8000 interior designers, architects, buyers and owner/developers are able to visit with more than 750 manufacturers and marketers of furniture and fixtures that are new and suitable for hospitality interiors.
- The Marketplace is designed to showcase the latest products and services available in the hospitality industry including technology, food/beverage and hotel amenities. The program attracts 10,000 industry professionals, including hotel owners, GMs, and c-suite executives from casinos and resorts, independent and branded hotels, management and purchasing enterprises, military base lodging and others engaged in the hospitality and affiliated industries.
Expectations Get Personal
In the past, hotel interior designers were at the cutting edge of new ideas, making the guest experience unique and memorable. More recently, originality has moved from commercial to residential, leaving the hotel boring, dull and totally utilitarian.
In many instances, the hotel room is getting smaller and smaller, leaving little private space available for more than the most basic guest needs and very few wants are satisfied. It is true that the diminutive guest room is allowing more space for public use as evidenced by larger restaurants, lounges and bars, work/meeting spaces, arts and entertainment zones.
While private room spaces have become the size of a closet, guests do not want to spend time in a drab, dull and cookie-cutter environment.
The designers’ challenge is to unlock all the bells and whistles currently available for the residential client and transition the ideas to the small hotel room and the larger public spaces.
Hotel guests have embraced the reality that they are “unique” and now the hotel designer has the challenge of identifying what can be done to make the hotel experience personal while meeting the financial constraints of running a successful business.
Dare to be Different
- A Warm Seat
Whether you are sitting outside in chilly Cappadocia, Turkey, enjoying an after-dinner drink, or relaxing on a cloudy day on your Miami Beach terrace, the experience may not perfect because of the nip in the air. A warm blanket or a fire pit does not provide enough heat for comfort.
Enter the design and fabrication studio of Aaron and Miranda Jones. Since 2012 the brother and sister team have produced a line of heated outdoor seating made from Tropo-stone. The material is durable and natural and allows the furniture to be light weight. The pieces are beautifully designed, comfortable, and add a fashion statement to outdoor seating.
In 2015 the company won Best Outdoor at Dwell on Design, and in 2018 they received the Furniture Innovation award at San Francisco Design Week.
- When a Night Light is a Faucet
Stern has been manufacturing faucets and other water saving sanitary products for over 26 years with cutting-edge infrared technology. The products are endorsed by ISO 9001. I was delighted to see faucets that included a nightlight, eliminating the mystery of locating the sink in unfamiliar hotel bathrooms. Attractive and useful – a perfect combination.
- The End to Boring Leather Chairs
The Townsend Leather Company produces and distributes leather products for the hospitality and other industries for over 40 years. The beautiful woven, embroidered and colorful leathers provide opportunities for designers to make an ordinary leather chair, floor or wall tile a memorable feature in hotel suites and lobbies. The beauty of Townsend’s upholstery leather comes from bulls who graze in German pastures. The cattle, raised for beef, have the softest and smoothest hides.
When the President of the United States fastens his safety belt on Air Force One, he relaxes on a seat made by Townsend Leather.
- White Towel Services
While a glass of Bordeaux may be what you want, it is truly a pleasure to be welcomed by the hotel front desk employee with a steaming hot, gently scented 100% cotton towel for a quick refreshing moment. The pre-moistened, individually wrapped, single-use cotton towels offer soothing comfort to the harried guest.
Presented steaming hot or refreshingly iced, the refreshment towels are a clean and convenient way to offer a touch of first-class service to guests. The single use towels are hypoallergenic and available in four scents, Lemon or Lavender essential oil, Peach/Mango or Unscented.
The towel warmer requires no maintenance and the towels are heated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The managers load the warmer with the number of towels needed for the day, turns on the warmer, and they are ready to serve steaming hot refreshment throughout the day. On a hot day, the towels can be served icy-cold. They are cooled from a refrigerator or ice chest and perfect at the front desk as well as tennis courts and golf courses.
- National Car Charging
Jim Burness, the CEO for National Car Charging for electric vehicles, started his company in 2012. The corporate mission is to offer a choice of top quality EV charging products and services at reasonable prices. Burness spent two decades in the automotive industry before starting a career in clean energy. He is an advocate for clean energy issues and serves on the board of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association. He has testified on behalf of electric vehicles and solar policy at the Colorado State Legislature.
In the US, plug-in car sales have exceeded 1,000,000 and double-digit growth is projected for the next 20+ years. Governments and utilities nationwide are prepared to spend millions of dollars to assist the growing electric vehicle needs.
- Majestic Offers Cozy Robes
With airlines profiting from passengers’ luggage, travelers have been forced to leave their comfy robes at home. Guests staying at high-end properties, however, are likely to discover a Majestic robe tucked into their hotel room closet.
The company started in 1924 by Sam Cowan. At the age of 13, Cowan arrived in Canada from Rumania and as a peddler worked from a handcart selling scarves and mufflers. As demand increased, he opened a menswear store in Saskatoon, Canada. After years of making and selling ties and mufflers in Montreal he expanded his company to include sleepwear and sold Majestic terry robes to department stores in Canada. In the 1990s Majestic entered the US market and clients currently include Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Bloomingdales, Saks as well as 250 better menswear stores and hotels.
Delicious options include black silk striped pajamas and silk shawl robes ($295 each), Mach men’s silk shawl robe ($500) and women’s crescent lined waffle shawl robes ($90).
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© Dr. Elinor Garely. This copyright article, including photos, may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.