07 DECEMBER 2018 7:05 AM

The best hotel design is authentic, to the local community and the brand, while also cost-conscious, which requires communication, vision and flexibility.

Research the place
“To create a meaningful connection to the local community through concept design, we dedicate a significant amount of time to research on location. With boots on the ground, we not only look into the history of the site and the neighborhood, but we dive into the city’s cultural characteristics, industrial make-up, famous personalities (and) its flora and fauna. We’re then inspired to build concepts around the lives and vibrancies that impact the city.”
--Michael Suomi
Principal and VP, Interior Design, Stonehill Taylor

Exude authenticity
“Be authentic. Allow the design to be authentic. Let it properly reflect the brand—whether boutique or chain. Trying to pose as something else will always reflect in disappointed customers. Areas of authenticity include the local theming, artwork, the food-and-beverage outlets and more. Consumers are seeking experiences when traveling, but it has to be the right fit for it to really resonate.”
--Bob Kraemer
Principal, Kraemer Design Group

Spend smart
“A design practice we live by is providing our clients with a creative vision that fits within their budget. Don’t get us wrong, this is often easier said than done, but we believe great design can also come at a good value. It’s imperative to understand where to spend and where to save.”
--Ashley Manhan
Co-Founder and Principal Designer, Avenue Interior Design

Take a step back
“To best help our clients, I often remind our talented design team to try ‘walking a mile’ in the brand design manager’s shoes. For each brand project that we work on in-house (like Chicago’s Claridge House hotel, shown here) that design manager has multiple, similar projects that they oversee at any given time. Concise and prompt delivery of communication streamlines the process and makes everyone’s lives easier.”
--Meg Prendergast
Principal, The Gettys Group

Pair communication with flexibility
“Communication and flexibility are two major keys to successful relationships and projects. Projects will always have professionals with different skillsets, backgrounds and points of view working together. One must always be able to listen and correspond through a wide range of communication vehicles while remaining flexible and respectful of each other’s perspectives. Projects are the ultimate litmus test of collaboration and teamwork, so the two major factors must go hand in hand in order to meet its client’s needs. … It’s not easy, but it’s worth it in the end.”
--Julia Choi
Regional project director, Wilson Associates’ New York studio

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