WELCOMING GESTURES: Hospitality Design Trends

Hospitality Cover GraphicThe word hospitality traces its origin back to the Latin words hostis, which means stranger or enemy, and the more positive hospitem, which means guest or host. The English terms hospital, host, hostel, hotel and hospitality all come from these same roots. Interestingly the first hospitality venues were hospitals, which in their initial inception provided lodging and entertainment for pilgrims traveling to religious shrines. This eventually led to our current concept of hospitality which encompasses friendly reception and generous treatment of guests or strangers.

We take many of our design cues for a wide range of senior living, healthcare, educational and other commercial spaces from today’s hospitality venues, the best of which set the standards for brand identity, style and guest comfort and enjoyment.  The following hospitality trends are examples of contemporary interior design techniques and finishes that will add visual interest, subtle sophistication and personality to a wide range of settings.

Lighting:  No longer relegated to a strictly functional role, lighting often serves as a centerpiece in today’s spaces, through the use of oversized, distinctive fixtures.  Regardless of design style, lighting is an effective way to make a statement and can serve as an alternative form of artwork.

Oversized lights definitely make a statement. Source: ...Love Maegan.com Blog

Oversized lights definitely make a statement. Source: …Love Maegan.com Blog

More Texture; Less Pattern:  Simple clean lines and predominantly neutral, monochromatic color schemes are currently favored over busy patterns for furniture, window treatments, wall coverings and other finishes. Varying the textures prevents spaces from looking dull or flat.  White is enjoying a resurgence, but you will still find pops of bold colors. However rather than an array of colors, it’s more often one or two shades used as accents.

Local Craftsmanship:  A natural counterpart to farm-to-table and handcrafted dining trends, there is a concerted effort to provide regional relevance and distinctive experiences by introducing design features created locally.  This could be a piece of furniture, artwork or finish material like a metal screen.

Ceiling Features:  No longer an afterthought, a wide range of ceiling treatments add drama, create a centerpiece to a space or help to guide guests.  A related trend for ceilings, as well as walls, floors and countertops, is extending materials from one surface to another, like the following example from the Waldorf Astoria which also incorporates a monochromatic texture on the walls.

Ceiling detail at Waldorf Astoria Panama.

Ceiling detail at Waldorf Astoria Panama.

Home Away from Home:  Gathering spaces outside guest rooms are receiving more attention to provide comfortable and appealing opportunities to socialize, unwind or, for the business traveler, to get caught up on work.  A mix of intimate and larger scale spaces supplement or even replace the traditional lobby space.  Fireplaces and libraries are more prevalent today, as well as outdoor spaces incorporating a fire pit or casual seating beyond the typical al fresco dining options.

Comfortable and homelike details at the Westin Verasa Napa Hotel in California

Comfortable and homelike details at the Westin Verasa Napa Hotel in California.

Luxury & Sophistication:  This trend can be found not just in public areas but also in bathrooms where upscale fixtures and finishes elevate the hospitality experience.  While guest rooms are largely staying the same size, bathrooms are expanding to meet expectations for a spa-like setting.  Warm metals are increasingly being incorporated, along with granite, quartz or depending on the design style wood, stainless steel or concrete.

This example, Beijing Aiyuhua Hospital for Children and Women, recaptures hospitals’ initial role as a hospitality venue.

This example, Beijing Aiyuhua Hospital for Children and Women, recaptures hospitals’ initial role as a hospitality venue.

 

Luxury & Sophistication:  This trend can be found not just in public areas but also in bathrooms where upscale fixtures and finishes elevate the hospitality experience.  While guest rooms are largely staying the same size, bathrooms are expanding to meet expectations for a spa-like setting.  Warm metals are increasingly being incorporated, along with granite, quartz or depending on the design style wood, stainless steel or concrete.

Artwork:  A single oversized artwork selection, often customized by a local artist, will create more impact than several smaller nondescript pieces.

Defining Spaces:  Whether open bookshelves, transparent screens, artwork feature or other material, decorative walls are a simple, economical option to separate spaces or reduce the perceived scale of a large area while providing future flexibility for alternative configurations. Varying flooring selections is another way to differentiate areas and reduce the scale.

Statement artwork at Archer Hotel in New York City.

Statement artwork at Archer Hotel in New York City.

Ultimately, guests return to a hotel that provides a positive experience and makes them feel welcome and comfortable.  For many of our clients, the goals is the same.  While it’s important to stay abreast of current trends to remain relevant in a crowded marketplace, we work with clients to create a refined foundation, with a sophisticated timeless quality for universal appeal.  We can then build on that with carefully chosen statement elements that can be easily replaced over time.

Liz Koch has assisted clients with creating distinctive lobby and bistro spaces. Her advice is not to be afraid of larger scale pieces—particularly lighting and artwork—which are often more appropriately sized for commercial settings.  A few carefully selected, substantial elements will create a streamlined sophisticated vibe.

This distinctive table was handcrafted for the lobby at Garden Spot Village in New Holland, Pennsylvania.

This distinctive table was handcrafted for the lobby at Garden Spot Village in New Holland, Pennsylvania.

For more examples, visit our Hospitality Board on Pinterest or read the Hotel Interior Design website’s Trends for 2016.

RLPS Interiors Blog Editor –  Jodi Kreider, LEED AP