Blog Post – Reinvesting in Hotel Design – Expert Design Advice

Embrace the opportunities

With renewed sources of capital, hotel owners, operators and brands are investing again—seizing the opportunity to keep properties fresh and to stay competitive. Cautious optimism reigns and budgets remain tight, so properties must prioritise spending to maximise ROI. These are some of the updates hotels are (or should be) spending money on.

Renovate Property

Renovation is required for many properties—whether due to new ownership, re-flagging, property improvement plans (PIPs) or simply age—and can be implemented all at once or in phases. Public lobbies are renovated to offer a more flexible, comfortable, living room lounge, while upgraded spaces like meeting and conference rooms offer opportunities for increased event revenue. Back-of-house renovations improve operational efficiencies and maximise the use of real estate. And guest room renovations enhance customer comfort and loyalty.

Adaptive Reuse of Buildings for new Hotels

Adaptive reuse—the art and design science of reinventing buildings—occupies a small but powerful niche within the larger world of hotel development. It’s powerful because it gives hoteliers a way into otherwise impenetrable urban centres.

It also gives them a road less travelled. Let’s face it, turning a former office building (or warehouse or theatre) from the 1930’s into a hotel demands not only creativity but an open mind. It demands that hoteliers “restart” their engines. By that, I mean redefining their expectations and their set of “givens” in a way that ground-up construction and/or renovation of existing hotel stock does not require. And did I mention the need for (really) over-the-top design thinking?

For instance, in an adaptive reuse project, a brand’s standard roster of room types may need to be tweaked and expanded to respond to the existing building’s physical constraints, which include structural columns, beams, elevator cores, existing stairs, loading docks, exterior windows and floor-to-floor heights. Traditional hotel space planning may need to be tossed, as well. Spaces may need to be rethought/reconfigured to fit the program elements into the existing architectural shell while simultaneously providing superb guest experiences and operational efficiency. Same with the usual formula for performance. It may need to be revised to account for these planning and construction adjustments.

Boost Sustainability

95% of business travellers believe the hospitality industry should be undertaking green initiatives, and 52% indicate a willingness to pay more for rooms that enable guests to reduce their carbon footprint.So green hotels increasingly attract conscientious consumers as well as corporate meeting planners with social responsibility standards to meet. Enhancements such as efficient lighting, low-flow water fixtures and solar equipment can greatly reduce operational costs without cuts to customer service. Sources: Deloitte Hospitality 2015;

Hospitality brands have made sustainable practices part of their brand and offering. Now health and wellness are in their sights. Wellness is more than access to a spa or fitness centre. It can mean guest rooms that encourage yoga, exercise, and meditation, for example, and design choices, toiletry selections, room-service menus, and mini-bar snacks that reflect a health consciousness.

Hotel Lobby Design

Walking into a hotel lobby is like shaking the hand of someone you just met. It’s all about the first impression. Just like people, hotel lobbies embody distinct personalities. A lobby can be aloof, inviting, intimidating, or unbelievably cool. As an hotelier, you cannot stand by your front door greeting all the guests that make their way onto your property, but you can choreograph initial experiences by transforming your lobby into an oasis.

The best lobbies create a refuge for the tourist, for the business traveller, for the couple enjoying a weekend getaway. Lobbies blend the best of form and function – they anticipate the needs of your guests and introduce your sense of style. Within moments of entering your hotel, guests brand your hotel as trendy, chic, cheap, or luxurious. They step into this public space immediately upon crossing the threshold – so, take this opportunity to make a powerful first impression on your guests.

In today’s competitive hospitality industry, hoteliers constantly work to come up with elements that turn their next visitors into repeat guests. In especially tough economic times, travellers are tightening their budgets. In response, hoteliers need to identify smart solutions that keep guests booking stays.

Letting people escape and unwind

Formality used to be the order of the day for business hotel dining and meeting spaces. No more. Business is conducted now in less formal settings, so hoteliers are shifting gears. “It’s not just about making people comfortable they want to be able to escape. That means giving them places where they can really unwind. These are revenue generators, of course, but they’re also redefining the hotel experience.”

In smaller hotels, the same idea might surface as a roof deck with a cool bar and a plunge pool, or a Zen garden terrace with a day spa attached. The bathtub is now a piece of furniture, Bathing is moving into the guest room proper, making the space feel larger and more interactive.”

Bars and restaurants remain a hospitality mainstay, but with an emerging difference: trend-setting hoteliers are seeking out the unique. Wine bars and microbreweries are two ways that hotels are accentuating the local while providing a familiar service.

There’s a new emphasis on providing an ambience that speaks to “location, location, location” while still channelling elements—and benefits—of the parent brand. The strategy makes the hotel a draw for locals, and their presence helps give it a cosmopolitan sense of being part of the area and its scene.

Refresh Technology

Global consumers have become accustomed to instant—and constant—access to information everywhere they go, and hotel destinations are no different. Upgrading infrastructure in order to provide uninterrupted access has become imperative, with travellers indicating that wireless internet is the top “must have” amenity. Similarly, hotels are using tools like iPad concierge, room service apps, property management systems and social networking to improve communications both internally and externally.

Source: J.D. Power & Associates

Upgrade Food & Beverage

As chef-driven cuisine and cooking networks raise customer expectations, and as 71% of adults say they try to eat healthier when dining out, food trends such as locally sourced and sustainable ingredients, kids’ nutrition, and gluten free diets resonate throughout the hospitality industry. Many diners increasingly choose unique establishments with local ties, and enhanced bar and lounge areas can increase foot traffic by their appeal to local residents as well as hotel guests.

Source: National Restaurant Association

Innovation Desired

With more competition in this sophisticated and rapidly maturing market, choice is up and prices are coming down. That’s driving experimentation: new brands, new lifestyles, and new designs. At the high end, the focus is on creating something special and memorable—the kinds of settings that lead to return visits.

We really hope this short blog gave you some good ideas, if you want to explore your project more just ring or email us and we can see can we help. See contact details below.


DOYLE + PARTNERS – Hospitality Practice Leaders

With ever-changing design trends, technology and competition within the industry, hotel owners and operators are focused on creating unique experiences that leave the guests relaxed, renewed and eager for more.

D + P works with hoteliers to design memorable travel experiences for their guests. We approach green hospitality as an opportunity to fulfil guests’ needs and desires while enhancing comfort and convenience. Our approach draws on our insights into specific guest preferences, values and behaviours to create hotels that are welcoming, versatile, and enduring.

Doyle + Partners Hospitality Practice partners with hotel brands and developers to preposition existing properties and create new ones that are poised to succeed as the pace of change quickens and customer demands continue to evolve.

Design Services –

Architectural Design

Brand Strategy & Graphic Design

Interior Design

Sustainability Consulting


Philip Doyle – Design Director

Business Opportunities – Hospitality + Retail
087 3149563

Design Studio –

Fumbally Exchange

5 Dame Lane

Dublin 2.

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