Making an Entrance

November 17, 2021

The hospitality industry is constantly in flux, but the programmed components needed to create a beautiful hospitality experience are well-established. These spaces in their simplest form are necessary for function, but they have the most potential and opportunity for innovation and evolution. Join us as we explore what area of a hotel has the biggest design impact with our design team.

Matt Page, Vice President & Associate Principal

The lobby and lounge. These two spaces are the first experience a guest had when entering a hotel and they set the tone of how the guest journey is going to unfold – it’s kind of the introduction to the hotel narrative. These areas will continue to evolve as the check-in transaction morphs and adapts with new technology, but that sense of communal area will continue to be a strong transition space from the outside world.

Miguel Campo, Vice President & Senior Designer

The tricky thing about hotel design, particularly when working in beautiful locations is that the building itself often needs to become the backdrop to the environment. In this situation, the spaces created in-between the buildings can become beautiful and memorable moments in the guest journey. For example, enjoying warm tea in the spa garden while gazing at slowly moving water on a pond; having a whole-hearted conversation while staring at the sunset from a rooftop lounge; or finding peace in a quiet sandy courtyard; those are moments that stick with you for a lifetime.

Kelsey Danciger, Associate & Job Captain

The main public spaces of a hotel, such as the lobby, lounges, and pool terraces, are important focal points. The design of these gathering spaces – the visual openness, the acoustics, the amount of natural light, and the tactile finishes the guests interact with – sets the tone of your experience and gives the most memorable impression of the hotel.

David Rychlowski, Vice President & Associate Principal

This is a two-part answer, as it could be answered through the eyes of the guest as well as the eyes of the operator:

  • From the guest experience, it’s hard to argue any other area other than the arrival has the largest impact on the guest. The arrival sets the tone, mood, attitude of the property. All who visit the property pass through a threshold that signifies the moment when you leave your reality behind, and your stay away from home begins. If the coordinated efforts of the architect, interior designer, landscape designer, and other members of the design team are inconsistent, the guest’s first impression of the property will negatively affect their impression of all spaces to come.
  • From an operations standpoint, I feel that the planning of the ‘back-of-house’ on a property is critical. Regardless of how a brand prefers to operate a property, the ability to plan clean, coordinated BOH circulation with minimal to no cross circulation makes me very happy.

Harris Christiaansen, Vice President & Associate Principal

The arrival experience is one of the most important spaces to make a design statement. Even though guests don’t spend a lot of time in these spaces, it’s the first impression and sets the scene for the hotel. I say, ‘arrival experience’ and not ‘lobby’ because it’s so much more than one space – it’s the approach to the hotel, the walkway, the porte cochère, the view – all culminating at the lobby. All these spaces need to work together to create a holistic arrival experience.

When it comes to a resort, my answer differs slightly, the arrival is still important, but the landscape design and the pools are the stars of the show!

Keith Houchin, Vice President & Associate Principal

The arrival and lobby experience, without a doubt. How you transition the guest into a property and create that first impression is critical while allowing for that sense of being transported somewhere unique. It sets the tone for the rest of their stay and is often a transition or gathering point for guests if they are staying with a group. This is the place to really make a statement.

Lucienne Walpole, Vice President & Senior Designer

The lobby. It sets the tone for what’s to come. If the arrival doesn’t make an impact, then the guest may not even take the opportunity to keep exploring the rest of the hotel.

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