Modern hotels: no longer just a place to stay

Hotels worldwide are starting to holistically address interior design and the design of the hospitality experience, increasingly moving away from being just a place to stay. Hoteliers are listening to their guests’ tastes and preferences to create properties that are planned and executed as an integrated concept from beginning to end, from the hotel’s architecture, to the interiors, to everything a guest touches or feels.

With hotel rooms in Dubai set to more than double over the next six years in the run up to Expo 2020, demand for high quality hospitality interiors in the city is stronger than ever. Here are the trends influencing hospitality interior design over the next year.

With a large number of upcoming hotel openings, we are witnessing a growing demand for renovation projects for existing properties in the UAE and the wider Middle East. It is a smart move from those existing hotel owners, as it gives their older hotels a competitive edge against the newer ones coming on the market. For example, HBA recently renovated the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates lobby to give the luxury hotel a fresh, yet authentic and timeless look.

Art collections
Art in hotels is becoming an important trend, with fully realised art collections increasingly being featured. Hotel owners are recognising that art, especially pieces by local artists, enhances guest experience by immersing them in local culture. Displaying home-grown art is also a great way to give back to the community and support creativity at a grassroots level. In the renovation of the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, the works of Emirati artist Mohammed Al Qassab is incorporated into the newly remodeled lobby. In a Fairmont Hotel being designed by HBA Dubai in Lagos, Nigeria, the owners have an extensive art collection, so the designers have decided to revolve the overall look and feel around the art.

Mid-market chic
Budget-conscious owners and developers are increasingly seeking fresh, cutting-edge design with local accessibility. In India, China and the Middles East, the middle class has substantially grown in recent years, increasing the demand for mid-level offerings. To meet this mounting demand, HBA launched STUDIO, which brings HBA’s passion and knowledge of design to a local level. Through this wing, local sources and materials are used, supporting the local economy and reducing costs for hoteliers. Local-centric design will continue to be a strong trend in the coming years as mid-market demand spreads to more regions.

Bathroom bliss
Hotels are a place of escape – a sanctuary away from the stresses of everyday life. Increasingly, HBA is seeing high-end hotel rooms being designed for the ultimate in privacy and relaxation. For example, large, spa-like bathrooms allow guests to experience tranquillity in the comfort of their own room. HBA is also witnessing a growth in demand for two bathrooms – his and hers – adding that extra bit of privacy as a step up from what guests would often experience at home. Think bathroom bliss with en-suite bedrooms, giant luscious bathtubs, exotic waterfall showers, beauty spaces, and room for him and her.

Going green
We are also witnessing a genuine drive towards sustainability from developers. Simply put, sustainability is good for business. Not only does a sustainable approach cut costs, increase customer loyalty, and increase brand value, it is most importantly (and needless to say) good for the environment. In the Middle East in particular, we are seeing an increased awareness around the need for sustainability, with government bodies such as the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council firmly encouraging industry players to take a more eco-friendly outlook on designs to ensure a sustainable future in the region.

Faster and smoother check-ins
Express check-ins will become big as technology continues to play a larger role in the hospitality sector. By using a tablet, guests will be able to quickly and simply check in and out of their hotel rooms, make restaurant reservations, shop from the comfort of their suite, as well as order room service at the touch of a button. By eliminating the traditional stop by the front desk, hotels have the potential to vastly speed up check-in times, which will undoubtedly make the whole experience smoother and more pleasurable for guests.