Style and simplicity


Improving the guest experience with purposeful design

A recent 2023 trends report from a major hotel brand describes the needs of today’s contemporary traveler, including personalized stays, an emphasis on experiential and wellness travel, and the blurring of lines between business and leisure. As a result, travelers are placing a greater emphasis on seeking these qualities in their accommodations. To aid hotels in improving the guest experience and encourage dialogue that speaks to today’s travelers, interior designers need to think about how to create tactile spaces that entertain and engage through the careful curation of textures, colors, locally sourced inspiration, and diverse amenity spaces.

Determining exactly how you want your guests to feel from the moment they step into a hotel space serves as the foundation that will shape the hotel’s narrative and establish a connection between the property and guests. In recent years, travelers have endured extended periods at home due to the pandemic; however, both business and leisure travel are experiencing a resurgence, with guests seeking the familiar comforts of home within their hotel rooms. Thus, an overall design story that’s more residential in look and feel should be top of mind for hoteliers and interior designers. Immersive, personalized experiences that emulate home environments and individuality simultaneously will dominate the landscape for years to come.

From incorporating soft textures to layered lighting, plush upholstery, and communal and collaborative workspaces, designers have a diverse array of design elements and approaches at their fingertips to enrich the hotel experience and provide an authentic stay.

Layered color palettes that provide depth, texture, and pops of color, for example, create an engaging and soothing environment for guests to explore, revealing the design’s story. Organic elements and custom fabrics and finishes offer tactile experiences, while architectural lighting enhances key areas. In addition to a focus on the design’s visual impact on the guest experience, practical design choices like power outlets and comfortable seating ensure accessibility and flexibility.

Regardless of their immediate purpose, each design element must be considered in terms of how it impacts the guest and creates a beautiful environment that can meet both their physical and visual needs.

The simultaneous rise of wellness travel has contributed to an increased demand for bridging the outdoors with areas found inside a property. These open-air spaces provide an additional opportunity for guests to rejuvenate mind and body, and create an oasis of tranquility. Outdoor living spaces such as terraces, patios, and rooftops allow guests to gather, relax, and enjoy the space (and bonus points if they’re accessible all year). Integrating fire pits, fireplaces, and various types of furnishings for lounge-like living rooms, communal tables, and areas with power stations gives travelers the option to enjoy the indoor-outdoor concept. Thoughtful space planning and design concepts, coupled with outdoor options for relaxing or plugging in for work, can help blur the lines between inside and out, giving guests spaces to naturally gravitate toward.

Designers should, however, be careful of losing authenticity in the race to chase trends and not force design elements or materials that create an inauthentic atmosphere or feel out of place in the space, location, or design story. Integrating art that’s authentic and local adds visual stimulation and a curiosity to explore and learn more about the artist, the hotel, or the destination. Alternatively, carefully curated sculptures or local artifacts aid in ensuring an authentic design that complements both the hotel and the local community’s story. If the property possesses historic architectural or design elements, preserving and incorporating them into the overall design is an additional must for an elevated and immersive guest experience.

As the hospitality industry continues to evolve, hotel design must follow, using authentic, accessible, and thoughtful nods to satisfy the contemporary guest experience. From curated texture and color selections to the incorporation of local ties and more space for extended amenities, each design decision tells a story, inviting guests to enjoy a travel experience that begins at their home away from home. Creating spaces that not only cater to increased flexibility but inspire and create moments of delight is crucial to curating a one-of-a-kind guest experience that keeps them onsite and back for future visits.

lisa a. haude

Lisa A. Haude is Senior Vice President + Director of Interiors for LK Architecture (Interiors Division). Prior, Lisa was the Founder and Principal Interior Designer of Paradigm Design Group and PDG Studios, LLC, located in Houston, TX. She successfully ran her company for 20 years as an award-winning firm that specialized in boutique and lifestyle-driven hospitality projects throughout the United States. In her current role, Lisa is responsible for overseeing the company’s interior design studio, LK Interiors.




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