The emergence of Airbnb has been a rebirth for hotels. With a new challenge, has come new creative thinking and design tendencies. We're dishing on the hotel trends we're loving.
Designing a hotel experience from soup to nuts - one that begins prior to check-in, exceeds expectations during the stay. and lives forever, evangelized on a guest's digital scrapbook (i.e. Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, etc) after check-out - is no easy feet. In a world ruled by Airbnbs, hotels - new and old - are trying to engage guests in new ways. That means constantly reinventing themselves and the experience of their stay. With that in mind, I'm dishing on my favorite hotel design trends right now.
Sure, converting spaces into new uses is not entirely new. We saw loft conversions, or historic rehabilitations a ton in the early 2000s when the nation's populations decided it was once again ready for urban living. But now we're seeing this design trend for hotels around the world. Take this former-spice-warehouse-in-Singapore-turned-hotel designed by Asylum and Zarch Collabortives.
Or, there's this recently opened hotel-hostel hybrid in Reykjavík, Iceland. The Oddsson Ho(s)tel has been converted from a 1940s warehouse by design studio Döðlur.
Artist Involvement + Socially-Conscious
Just this weekend, the Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood debuted their Jonathan Adler-designed suite. The younger, hipper chain from Hyatt partnered with the superstar, color-loving designer to help benefit (RED), the AIDS nonprofit founded by U2 frontman, Bono. The result? A much-talked about 'super-glam rock 'n' roll’ corner room' where 30% of each booking goes to the charity, says Curbed LA. A custom-designed room from one of today's hottest designers is a sure-fire draw for today's discerning guest - not to mention the fact that your stay has a socially-conscious component to it as well.
While the Jonathan Adler went red for the Andaz, street artist and Banksy (who is known for his politically-charged art) was opening his own hotel on the West Bank in the name of a bridging divides in the Middle East. Not coincidentally, the hotel is located in Area C, "a section that – unlike many parts of the West Bank – is open to Israelis and Palestinians alike," reports Dezeen. The Walled Off Hotel, as its called, features much of Banksy's own art, a tea shop, art gallery and graffiti supplies store.
It's worth mentioning this hotel is also a conversion - it was formerly a pottery workshop.
Lowbrow meets highbrow
Another hotel design trend I'm loving is this idea of lowbrow meeting highbrow (you know, it's a lot like when bacon became the star ingredient at every upscale restaurant - but for the hotel industry). What I mean by this is that there's been a tendency to take forgotten roadside motels and through clever design and programming, make them a destination unto themselves.
Take the Shelter Social Club for example. The Shelter Social Club hospitality group founded by couple Chris Sewell + Kenny Osehan has made lowbrow-meets-highbrow their trademark. Nearly all of their properties fit this mold: Ojai Rancho Inn, The Agave Inn, The Hamlet Inn. Before the Shelter Social club, these roadside motor inns were nobody's must-stay destinations. Now, these hotels aren't just places to rest your head, these hotels represent a way of being.
Brooklyn design firm Studio Track has done a similar transformation with a 1960s motor lodge in New York's Catskill Mountains. The former motor lodge "allowed guests to drive right through its centre. The former vehicle access now serves as the main entrance," says Dezeen. Now called Sribner's Catskill Lodge, the hotel is full of beautiful design choices, like its restaurant which boasts stark black booths contrasted agains blonde woods. The look creates a clean, Scandi-inspired vibe. The all-white guest rooms are fresh, relaxing, and rustic with a modern spin. In Goleta, CA (just outside Santa Barbara) a less-than-stellar Holiday Inn transformed it into the Goodland, a member of the Millenial-oriented hotel chain, Kimpton. A heavy dose of upscale California surf culture makes the hotel's Holiday Inn lineage a thing of the past. These hotels are definitely not your grandpa's motor inns.