As the tourism-and-hospitality industry continues to re-build in 2022, keeping up with the latest hotel-design trends is paramount. After many months of cancelled vacations and Zoom meetings, travellers are eager to venture out again, but they have new expectations about health, safety and cleanliness when it comes to selecting hotels. That said, hoteliers are re-considering design choices to not only differentiate themselves from competitors, but also attract customers in a safe and appealing way. Here, Hotelier unveils three post-pandemic design trends from the creative minds of architects and designers, in addition to a few of their recent work for the pandemic-driven new normal.

Traditional Comfort with a Twist
Many guests gravitate toward spaces that resemble residential homes, with warm palettes and natural expression of materials evoking a sense of comfort and relaxation. This is especially true for guestrooms. While coziness is still a major factor to consider, hotels are starting to increase colour and texture to animate spaces.

“Hotels are putting a real premium on interior design to create memorable experiences for guests,” says Adèle Rankin, managing principal at B+H Architects and principal and global design lead at its Vancouver-based hospitality studio CHIL Interior Design. “We’ve spent so much time inside, confined to select private spaces, so we’ve become [more] mindful about what’s important to us in these spaces, [which is typically] emotion, comfort and delight. In these times, you need so much of it.”

Now more than ever, customers are seeking an engaging, social-media worthy hotel experience, giving rise to themed guestrooms and hotels. The days of minimal decor are over as design firms prove comfort and safety can still be accomplished in conjunction with accent walls, funky furniture, stylish rugs and more.

“Beyond creating a holistic, multi-faceted guest experience, this complex combination allows for a truly memorable journey that can be enjoyed over and over while never feeling boring and outdated,” says Alessandro Munge, founder and design director at Toronto- based Studio Munge.

“Playing it safe and trying to appeal to everyone has become the only sure way to appeal to no one,” reads the 2022 Hospitality Trends Report produced by af&co and Carbonate.

Eco-friendly design choices have been re-affirmed by the COVID-19 pandemic as more hoteliers, architects and designers strive to ensure environmental sustainability.

“We were already in position where we wanted to help local production and local artisans, but once [the pandemic halted the supply chain], there was a re-discovery of locally sourced products and businesses,” says Martin Leblanc, architect and partner at Montreal-based Sid Lee Architecture.

There are plenty of sustainable design options to incorporate into any hotel, from recycled wood flooring, restored furniture and energy-efficient lighting strategies to water-bottle refill stations, solar panels and green walls. While installation costs are higher, eco-friendly design choices are durable and will ensure lower costs over time.

“Sustainability is a multi-faceted challenge that we tackle in many ways,” says Munge. “To ensure we do our part, we partner with the best suppliers globally with a proven track record on ethical practices and innovation while also favouring durable, long-lasting materials. Staying away from fading trendy design and focusing on timeless solutions also guarantees our project longevity.”

Munge continues, “We’re also proud to be partnering with incredible artisans around the world, and we do our best to specify local manufacturers when possible. This infuses our spaces with a greater sense of authenticity while also dramatically reducing the carbon footprint generated by international logistics.”

“We’re at a point now where most of our clients have environmental sustainability front of mind. Hoteliers are in a unique position because the green approach extends to how they’re actually servicing and operating the hotel,” says Rankin. “We’re big advocates for local sourcing. It’s always a fantastic opportunity, especially when we get back to engaging the community within a design space and how that makes it more successful in my eyes. There’s nothing better than being able to point to a local artist that’s created something for a hotel.”

Co-Working Spaces and Robust Technology
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of innovative technologies and many hotels started rolling out online check-in and check-out, keyless room entry and digital hotel-guest directory via QR codes. Additionally, guests expect to see guestrooms and common areas with more electrical outlets, desks and faster Wi-Fi to accommodate the surge in remote working.

“[Guests] want to be in common spaces, but still within their own private bubble. We’ve seen some beautiful integrations of partitions as an element of design [in common spaces.] That’s here to stay because people can still be in a common space with added privacy. People have been enjoying that,” says Leblanc.



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