What the Trend!
One of the biggest design trends we’ve seen in the boutique and lifestyle hotel segment is the shift from a traditional lobby, meant solely for checking in, out, and waiting, to a comfortable and inviting communal space that is bringing guests out of their rooms. The new lobby deigns capture the patron at ‘hello’ with communal seating, the perfect level of light, great music, complimentary wireless, and most importantly a space that feels like an extension of one’s family room.
What is more luring in these lobby experiences is how designers are defining space within the space. Designers are trending to provide cool portable work environments where the guest can work for the day on a long communal table, have an impromptu meeting in a cozy nook and even sip on a ‘real’ cup of coffee while lounging on a tufted sectional, all this without even having to step foot into an office environment.
One of the first, and still the best examples in my opinion, is the Ace Hotel in New York. The ability to pick and choose how you want to set up your shop for the day is endless. I’ve even rolled out drawings and started redlining. The music that is playing in the space is always hip, cool, yet chill and appropriately reflecting the time of day. As the day evolves to night, the energy of the space transforms from work environment to roll up your sleeves and have an adult beverage. The lobby is like the perfect outfit, it can transform from day to night and always looks fabulous.
At AJC Design, we designed the lobby experience at The Westport Inn. The Inn is a boutique property in a beach community in Connecticut. We incorporated side-by-side sectionals that promote conversation and interaction with other guests, a cozy stone fireplace flanked by bookshelves filled with books written by local writers; we created a space that feels like a casual yet chic family room. The guest feels comfortable enough to pull out their morning paper, sit Indian style on the sofa with their iPad in hand or even grab a book off the shelf with a cup of coffee.
Hotel brands are making these shifts not only because the revenue increase on F&B but the grass roots experience the guest is being provided is totally unique. It’s another way to provide a lifestyle and redefine what boutique hotel stands for. The brand sees the impact of having a more art, music and culinary experience engulfed in the lobby. The grass roots experience is being implemented by revolving art galleries that concentrate on local artisans to employing local food establishments that provide your fantastic cup of coffee to engaging local and famous musicians to perform every day of the week. Guests are being lured in by all these benefits that a lobby is now sustaining and the guests certainly don’t want to miss out on all the action.
Westport Inn Lobby Photo Credits Peter Kubilus