I’ve noticed a change in the way hotel lobbies are being designed these days and I hope it is the start of a new trend. Instead of the large, uninviting spaces designed to check in guests and funnel them in and out of the hotel, lobbies are becoming cosy, welcoming spaces in which guests can linger, relax and socialize. I think boutique hotels started this trend, and now larger chains are slowly following suit.
We recently stayed at the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica in Iceland and I loved the lobby. Did I say LOVED? It had been recently remodelled and they created cosy seating areas, centered around fireplaces, that could have easily been in someone’s living room. The area above faces guests coming in via the main entrance and really sets a “welcome home” tone for the hotel. I enjoyed a late night glass of wine (or two) sitting in front of that fireplace, winding down after a full day of touring. Don’t you just love that light fixture? A big factor in the successful design of this lobby was that the hotel wasn’t afraid to display accessories, and this really bridged the divide between commercial and residential. These little details made all the difference.
Above is another lobby seating area in the same hotel. In the winter, the focus is on the fireplace, while in warmer months there are large windows and doors to an outdoor terrace. Both of these spaces were well used by hotel guests, a testament to how well designed they are.
Above is the lobby of Hotel 1818, a boutique hotel in downtown Sydney, Australia. A cosy seating area with a humongeous tufted leather sectional was created. Smaller seating areas and tables for having a drink, or a light meal, complete the space. The designers maintained the industrial history of the building, which was once a warehouse for sheep wool, yet created a modern, funky, welcoming lobby that encourages lingering. I think lighting in both hotels also played a big factor in making these lobbies cosy spaces. Hanging lights that you would find in a residential setting, in addition to overhead track or recessed lighting, add to the feeling of “welcome home”! The easily accessible candy jars in both hotel lobbies wasn’t a coincidence either!
Have you noticed this trend in your travels?
Donna says: “I have noticed this trend as well Mary Anne. The Le St. Germain Maple Leaf Square in Toronto had a couple of seating areas, as did the Hudson Hotel in New York City, all designed to be small intimate spaces to relax! As a traveler it makes me feel like I’m in someone’s home rather than in a large cold hotel.”