Emerging Trends in Hotel Design


The hotel industry is emerging with a wave of optimism after the chaos an d trauma of the pandemic. Placing extra emphasis on interiors and ensuring that guests are left with a joyous and uplifting experience will be key over the coming months. Consumers’ priority over mental health and well-being will need to be reflected in hospitality spaces—where creating a comforting environment will be a major focus. Coming out of the last few months, some trends will emerge as we look to the future of hotel design.

Refreshed Retro. Retro and vintage styles feel relatable and reassuring, as they speak of high quality and timelessness. These classic styles will be reinvigorated with contemporary touches. Adding old-school glamor and flair to design schemes and creating a palette that includes rich, bold hues, high contrasting elements combined with sleek and streamlined forms will bring an elegant and modern look to the space.

Work From Anywhere. As travel for business is likely to continue to decline and leisure tourism is predicted to rebound if not rise, guests will look for blended leisure and work amenities. Lobbies will need to do the heavy lifting and function as informal workspaces, social spaces, and community engagement spots while showcasing the brand experience.

In 2021, the number of remote workers is predicted to double and for hotels this presents two key market opportunities. The first is work-from-home locals who will seek alternative spaces to break monotony, without long-term commitment. Second is long-stay guests able to combine leisure tourism with remote working. Although travelling for business may not be the primary reason for their trip, they are still likely to want the option of a space to work.

Sanctuary Space. Organic shapes and harmonious colors are entering architecture and interior projects, as clients wish to make their homes and businesses feel like a sanctuary. Including warm muted tones along with subtle textural finishes and natural material effects will help create a soothing experience for guests looking to unwind and relax. Adopting a minimalist, pared-back aesthetic can also be used as a tool to communicate cleanliness and emphasize hygiene standards. Additionally, weaving nature into spaces can add to an inviting experience. Whether it’s plant-filled interiors or wood and terracotta, these warm and organic materials will rejuvenate and aid calmness within the s pace. Adding a soft touch by using more familiar materials such as wood, ceramic, fabric or matte finishes, rather than cold, glossy materials.

Zen Industrialism- The concept of adaptive reuse as a sustainable design approach is continually gaining importance. For hotels that are a part of this movement, the goal is to bring in a sense of organic-ness combined with an attempt to retain the essence of former industrial buildings when designing new interiors. Hardness of materials like brick and concrete can be softened through the use of natural materials, muted color pallete and softer forms to create a unique, sophisticated experience, embracing the tension of past and present.

Local Crafts & Community – During the pandemic, many hotels played a key role in neighborhoods, transforming services to meet the needs of locals and domestic tourists. We are now seeing a continuing commitment to community, as hotels realize the mutual benefits of a prosperous and sustainable local economy. Hotels can aim to create a true locals-first destination by partnering with and supporting local businesses and suppliers and offering relevant community events.

Theatric Elements- Whether invoking the atmosphere of a specific period or incorporating dramatic motifs, theatrical elements and a sense of humor can create an invigorating guest experience. They can add character and uniqueness to ahotel stay while successfully crafting a bespoke guest experience through the filter of a narrative.

Adding theatric elements to the design– whether as an applied material or as a fixture, can create impactful visual focal points within the space that get guests talking and sharing their experience on social media.

Iconic Luxury- Following a year of uncertainty, indulgent hotel concepts will appeal to consu mers looking for luxe experiences after a challenging year. Hotels can seize the opportunity to inspire travelers with bold concepts that incorporate the story of a site’s history into branding and hotel design to add a unique look and feel to the luxury travel experience.

Rich, layered interiors and the use of objects to tell heritage-inspired narratives are great strategies to incorporate this. The goal is to create an aesthetic juxtaposition between past and present– one that creates a sense of nostalgia while inspiring guests.

Power of Print- The trend for bold interiors is set to dominate the hotel scene in the years ahead as consumers seek surroundings filled with character and depth. Using print and pattern as a dynamic medium that tells a unique story and reflects the brand’s DNA is a great strategy to use– especially as consumers look for spaces that go beyond aesthetics to offer a rich, in-depth experience out of the home. Besides this, interiors that are filled with character through lavish use of print and pattern will create a memorable experience for guests looking to be re-energized.

Forging Social Reconnections- Recent hotel openings demonstrate how new designs and layouts are responding to consumer attitudes. The need for multifunctional social space will act as a priority– making the lobby the social heart of the hotel can be a key strategy for hotels looking to serve younger clientele. Aim to create Instagrammable interiors by adding elements that are playful and full of character. Turn the volume up on print, color and other details light fixtures to add a new lease of life to community spaces.

The Fifth Wall- Ceilings have become a new focus for residential and commercial interiors alike, offering a fresh and unexpected space in which to creatively apply color, pattern, paneling and installations. In addition, #ceilingdesign on Instagram is growing, with over 284k posts.
As a space that is often left uncolored, ceilings offer an unparalleled opportunity for creativity. Revive th e ‘fifth wall’ with dramatic interventions to create a wow factor for immersive interiors. Community spaces in hotels can take advantage of this trend by paying special focus to ceilings. For example, reflective metal and glass designs with rippled and beaten effects convey a liquid illusion– adding instant drama and light to interiors.

Travelers are ready to resume, and are seeking experiences that are new, yet reassuring and relatable. The hotel industry has always been a leading indicator of trends that will ripple through other sectors. Over the next twenty-four months, the scale of these changes will be monumental. As Owne rs and Operators embrace them, the modern hotel experience will continue to evolve.



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