Contract - Hotel Trends: Be Our Guest

design - essay



Hotel Trends: Be Our Guest

01 December, 2009

-By Tara Mastrelli



One of the biggest trends to sweep guestrooms around the world is the open, New York loft-style aesthetic: freestanding tubs enter the bedroom, expansive windows are letting the sun shine in, exposed bricks and ducts appeal to young creative types, and sliding pocket doors have been given a whole new life in hospitality.

In Hong Kong, designer Philip Liao interpreted the loft aesthetic at the new extended stay hotel, the Yin. "I think this more raw, more honest kind of living is more in fashion. Even very well-paid young execs don't necessarily want to live in a palace anymore," says the founder of Philip Liao and Partners Ltd. The 42 rooms feature exposed copper piping in bathrooms, brick walls lightly white washed, and ceiling pipes only partially concealed with suspended wooden slats. The star of each room is a curvaceous freestanding tub, easily visible through glass partitions: each was hand chiseled out of a single block of Perla Grey stone from Japan.

Not only relegated to major cities though, the loft style is sweeping through second-tier markets in places like Texas and Rhode Island too, with NYLO, one of the new entrants into the design-savvy cost-conscious brands. (The name NYLO is actually a play on New York Loft.) The brand’s urban loft aesthetic features soaring ceilings, exposed brick walls, and polished concrete floors. Fun regional motifs are sprinkled throughout each hotel. In Texas, for instance, chandeliers are shaped like antlers, while the Rhode Island NYLO has Plexiglas tabletops with embedded seashells and ottomans adorned with boat ties.

Starwood has also banked on the loft-look with its aptly named Aloft concept. Designed in conjunction with David Rockwell, guestrooms feature 9-ft. ceilings, oversized windows, and an ultra-comfortable signature bed. Each guestroom is also a combination high-tech office and entertainment center, featuring wireless internet access and plug-and-play, a one-stop connectivity solution for multiple electronic gadgetry—such as PDAs, cell phones, mp3 players, and laptops—all linked to a large flat panel HDTV ready television.

And Aloft isn’t the only brand that is taking technology very seriously. Traditional casegoods and armoires are almost completely extinct. Instead, they are being replaced by sleek LED flatscreens, mounted everywhere from the foot of a luxury bathtub to above an electric fireplace. At the Buddha-Bar Hotel Prague, the first property in a growing global collection of Buddha-Bar branded hotels from entrepreneur and designer Raymond Visan, guestrooms feature Nespresso coffee machines, Sub-Zero minibars, Balnea 8000 toilets, and 40-in. Bang & Olufsen full HD televisions with live DJ musical channels.

In contrast to the hard aesthetic of loft-like living, there has also been a shift to more residential-style design. For London-based Firmdale’s first stateside hotel, Crosby Street, each guestroom is meticulously appointed, with the type of attention to detail, texture, and color that gives the feeling that designer/co-owner Kit Kemp was not designing a hotel, but her family's New York home, with plans of entertaining a lot. "We love color, texture, and tones, and we wanted to put the detail in that we hadn't seen in a lot of New York hotels," says Kemp. "And when you've been doing it for quite a long time, then it starts to get fun to break a few rules and genuinely have a great time with fabric and the experience that we've built up over the years." Argentinean blankets were made into rough looking chairs, and patchwork sofas were hand-sewn by Kemp and her friend over the course of five days.

Even in South Beach, where overdesigned and über trendy are the names of the game, an elegant, residential space has emerged. The Betsy hotel on Ocean Drive in South Beach, housed in the former Betsy Ross hotel, a Georgian colonial building built by L. Murray Dixon in the 1940s. Designers Diamante Pedersoli and Carmelina Santoro were brought together to create a home-away-from-home feel throughout the 63 guestrooms. Rooms are done in one of four color schemes—lilac, coral, ochre, or apple green—and feature white wooden plantation shuttered windows, black walnut hardwood floors, white lacquered dressers, raffia covered ceilings, chairs, and headboards, and stately poster beds.



Hotel Trends: Be Our Guest

01 December, 2009


One of the biggest trends to sweep guestrooms around the world is the open, New York loft-style aesthetic: freestanding tubs enter the bedroom, expansive windows are letting the sun shine in, exposed bricks and ducts appeal to young creative types, and sliding pocket doors have been given a whole new life in hospitality.

In Hong Kong, designer Philip Liao interpreted the loft aesthetic at the new extended stay hotel, the Yin. "I think this more raw, more honest kind of living is more in fashion. Even very well-paid young execs don't necessarily want to live in a palace anymore," says the founder of Philip Liao and Partners Ltd. The 42 rooms feature exposed copper piping in bathrooms, brick walls lightly white washed, and ceiling pipes only partially concealed with suspended wooden slats. The star of each room is a curvaceous freestanding tub, easily visible through glass partitions: each was hand chiseled out of a single block of Perla Grey stone from Japan.

Not only relegated to major cities though, the loft style is sweeping through second-tier markets in places like Texas and Rhode Island too, with NYLO, one of the new entrants into the design-savvy cost-conscious brands. (The name NYLO is actually a play on New York Loft.) The brand’s urban loft aesthetic features soaring ceilings, exposed brick walls, and polished concrete floors. Fun regional motifs are sprinkled throughout each hotel. In Texas, for instance, chandeliers are shaped like antlers, while the Rhode Island NYLO has Plexiglas tabletops with embedded seashells and ottomans adorned with boat ties.

Starwood has also banked on the loft-look with its aptly named Aloft concept. Designed in conjunction with David Rockwell, guestrooms feature 9-ft. ceilings, oversized windows, and an ultra-comfortable signature bed. Each guestroom is also a combination high-tech office and entertainment center, featuring wireless internet access and plug-and-play, a one-stop connectivity solution for multiple electronic gadgetry—such as PDAs, cell phones, mp3 players, and laptops—all linked to a large flat panel HDTV ready television.

And Aloft isn’t the only brand that is taking technology very seriously. Traditional casegoods and armoires are almost completely extinct. Instead, they are being replaced by sleek LED flatscreens, mounted everywhere from the foot of a luxury bathtub to above an electric fireplace. At the Buddha-Bar Hotel Prague, the first property in a growing global collection of Buddha-Bar branded hotels from entrepreneur and designer Raymond Visan, guestrooms feature Nespresso coffee machines, Sub-Zero minibars, Balnea 8000 toilets, and 40-in. Bang & Olufsen full HD televisions with live DJ musical channels.

In contrast to the hard aesthetic of loft-like living, there has also been a shift to more residential-style design. For London-based Firmdale’s first stateside hotel, Crosby Street, each guestroom is meticulously appointed, with the type of attention to detail, texture, and color that gives the feeling that designer/co-owner Kit Kemp was not designing a hotel, but her family's New York home, with plans of entertaining a lot. "We love color, texture, and tones, and we wanted to put the detail in that we hadn't seen in a lot of New York hotels," says Kemp. "And when you've been doing it for quite a long time, then it starts to get fun to break a few rules and genuinely have a great time with fabric and the experience that we've built up over the years." Argentinean blankets were made into rough looking chairs, and patchwork sofas were hand-sewn by Kemp and her friend over the course of five days.

Even in South Beach, where overdesigned and über trendy are the names of the game, an elegant, residential space has emerged. The Betsy hotel on Ocean Drive in South Beach, housed in the former Betsy Ross hotel, a Georgian colonial building built by L. Murray Dixon in the 1940s. Designers Diamante Pedersoli and Carmelina Santoro were brought together to create a home-away-from-home feel throughout the 63 guestrooms. Rooms are done in one of four color schemes—lilac, coral, ochre, or apple green—and feature white wooden plantation shuttered windows, black walnut hardwood floors, white lacquered dressers, raffia covered ceilings, chairs, and headboards, and stately poster beds.
 


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