Industry design experts gave their expectations for 2018 hotel design trends, along with a few examples from projects they’re working on or have worked on.
GLOBAL REPORT—Design trends are always evolving, and hotels are often at the forefront of that evolution.
This year, hotel designers said the focus will be on food-and-beverage outlets, continuing to localize experiences and making creative use of indoor and outdoor spaces.
Hotel News Now spoke with several designers who work on hotel projects about their predictions for hotel design trends in 2018.
Take a look at what they had to say, and look through examples of these trends in the slideshow above.
Maher Murshed, president, Navigate Design
“With the influence of social media, hotel restaurants have evolved into digital-marketing platforms focusing on the growing millennial market segment. Owners and designers spend a lot more time curating entry experiences, food plating, glassware selection, cocktail programs, special art installations, custom lighting, etc. ‘Instagram moments’ have become pivotal for customers to discover while they are dining, allowing them to share their food stories spontaneously. Materials and lighting design not only have to complement the décor and food presentation, but also serve as a great backdrop for selfies! It’s no longer conventional restaurant design, but more experiential design.”
Kellie Sirna, cofounder, Studio 11 Design
“Our 2018 trend prediction is that food and beverage areas within the hotel will begin to infuse cohesively with the entry experience. Formal lobbies are being minimized while F&B areas are being prioritized, flowing into the public spaces and creating a more lively welcome. This concept further urges hotel guests to get out of their rooms, which energizes the lobby and restaurant spaces. Furniture pieces here are fully loaded with convenience outlets, writable walls and tables that can easily be turned into a casual conference area, further generating revenue for the hospitality market.”
Dan Kwan, chief creative officer, regional managing director, Americas, Wilson Associates
“There will be a renewed focus on the local culture and context of the neighborhood; a move away from a ‘uniform of aesthetics’ defining global luxury hotels. For Fairmont Quasar Istanbul, we were inspired by Turkey’s heritage. We focused on the history and local customs to develop the design. Food is an integral part of the Turkish culture, which became an important theme for the project. Food trends will spill into interior finishes and be reflected in the overall design. Examples include:
- a colorful spice library at the entrance of Aila, the hotel’s restaurant;
- the Mezze kitchen was specifically designed to resemble a neighborhood joint; and
- The Raki bar was installed to hone on the wellness factor, and a lot of attention was paid to the non-alcoholic beverage menu, which caters to the Islamic population.”
Reggi Nichols, founding principal, president, Waldrop + Nichols Studio
“In 2018, modern travelers will continue to have an expectation to experience authentic local culture during their hotel stay, and providing custom furniture options that achieve a locally inspired aesthetic is key. For example, each guestroom of The Westin at The Woodlands features modern custom furnishings such as millwork headboards and curvilinear desks, which mirror the curvature of the neighboring northern bank of the Woodlands Waterway.”
Bob Kraemer, cofounder, principal, Kraemer Design Group
“One of the design trends we’re preparing to utilize more in 2018 is the use of public spaces, like hotel lobbies and restaurants. Lobbies and restaurants in hotels are not new concepts, but the approach to making these spaces more desirable by guests and members of the community is critical. We’re seeing greater opportunities to maximize these spaces to deliver a fantastic local experience to guests, while making folks who live in these areas seek out a hotel restaurant as a high-level dining option just like any other restaurant. Whether it’s incorporating design elements to showcase the community the hotel is located in or creating a seamless transition from the street and sidewalk areas to open public seating, dining and drinking options, the common spaces should draw everyone in—not just out-of-towners who are looking for a place to sleep.
“Hoteliers shouldn’t limit their community ties to lobbies and restaurants, either. Some hotels may be uniquely situated to take advantage of riverwalks, parks and other features that make cities shine. Hotels can partner with other entities in their communities to make those features part of the hotel experience, bringing guests out of their rooms and into the cityscapes that have so much to offer and keep guests returning again and again.”
Terry Eaton, chief curator, cofounder, Eaton Fine Art
“For hotel art programs in 2018, we will continue to see a dedication to authentic, localized art and artists, as well as an increased demand for three-dimensional works that play with texture.”
Tamara Ainsworth, cofounding principal, MatchLine Design Group
“For the customer, it’s the first impression that counts. Since the lobby and reception areas set the tone for a guest’s experience of a hotel, these spaces must be memorable and should reflect the style and character of the overall establishment. If it excites the guest and entices them to spend time in the lobby and reception spaces rather than in the guestroom, the likelihood is that they will spend more money, especially on food-and-beverage offerings. Our goal is to achieve a classic design that highlights a few trend-forward items without allowing anything too trendy to overpower the space. So whether it’s a dramatic light fixture or an art mural that is Instagram-worthy, balance is key. We have to pick our moments when choosing focal points for the space and ensure that they play a subtle yet supporting role to the existing elements.”
David Tracz, partner, //3877
“In recent years, designers have been eager to remove color, to play to the minimalist trends made popular by the European art scene. In 2018, color will return to walls, accessories and overall design schemes, refreshing what in many ways has become a monotone method for designing hospitality spaces. The renovated Courtyard by Marriott—Virginia Beach Oceanfront North mirrors this trend, with light blue hues incorporated throughout, applied to the nautical-themed design.”
Pat Miller, global hospitality practice leader, Leo A Daly
“The boundary between indoor and outdoor lobby spaces is becoming more porous, leading to exciting opportunities to exploit square footage and create new guest experiences. Leo A Daly’s recently completed renovation of the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida, is a great example of this trend. The Diplomat’s best asset is its amazing beach access, and yet before the renovation, that visual connection was blocked by a pair of escalators rising up through the atrium lobby. We removed the escalators, recovered a ton of space that was being taken up by fountains, and instead transformed the lobby into a luxurious, beachy hangout. At the atrium’s far end, a new indoor/outdoor bar serves both the lobby and pool areas, creating an amazing connection to the beach, a dramatic new entry sequence for guests and a new revenue-generating opportunity for the hotel.”