Peeking at the Hotel Room of the Future

Courtesy of Starwood – Starwood Four Points properties are developing Smart Mirrors, digital mirrors with touch screen capabilities.

Designers predict that the hotel room of the future will feature much more than the requisite bed, TV and nightstand.  In an article published in Business Insider, Sophie-Claire Hoeller offers a glimpse of what we might expect:

Bigger Bathrooms

Experts predict that bathrooms will grow larger—up to 50% or more of the total hotel room—and become more spa-like. Rain showerheads and expanded counter space will become standard features. Even bathrooms at three-star hotels will be more luxurious.

Smaller Guest Rooms

Pod hotels, which are popular in Japan, feature tiny, minimalistic rooms. This concept may expand to other locales as much of the furniture traditionally found in hotels is deemed unnecessary. For example, flat screen televisions eliminate the need for bulky armoires, and desks in guest rooms can be replaced by communal work spaces in the lobby. Since people rarely unpack their belongings and store them in dressers, a growing number of brands are ditching dressers in favor of wire shelving, which is more flexible and offers a more open feel.

Tech

Technology is having a huge influence on the hotel guest room. At a growing number of properties, guests now use their smartphones as room keys. Some hotels are rethinking the entire concept of phones in guest rooms, since most travelers carry their own devices with them. They are giving guests access to hotel services through their mobile devices; special apps allow occupants to control the room’s lights, blinds and air-conditioning. Many properties are also scrapping the idea of in-room movies; some are collaborating with Netflix to provide entertainment options.

It goes without saying that outlets and charging stations will be increasingly important in hotel rooms in the future. Guests are demanding easy and convenient access to them. LED technology offers sophisticated lighting options, especially in bathrooms where lights can be adjusted to be more flattering. Special bathroom mirrors with touch screen capabilities can provide digital readouts of the weather or daily headlines.

Neutral Décor; Quality Bedding

Perceptions about cleanliness will cause duvet covers and curtains to become relics of the past. Instead, hotels are focusing on quality bedding. There will be a lot of white and neutral shades, with pops of color. Since light colors are unforgiving when it comes to stains and dirt, an increasing number of hotels will embrace light-colored carpets, or wood or tiled floors. Hotels will also integrate more natural elements and materials in their designs. It is predicted that indoor and outdoor boundaries will become increasingly blurred.

Multi-Purpose Lobbies

Staid lobbies with a static front desk are being phased out in favor of multi-use public spaces with bars, restaurants, lounges and business centers. This enables guests to work and socialize anywhere in the hotel. With strong WiFi signals and an assortment of seating options, groups can assemble anywhere for impromptu meetings or social gatherings.

In terms of design, hotels of the future will feature regional art, food and brands to give guests a taste of the local flavor. Architects will increasingly take the local surroundings into consideration when designing.

Social Media’s Impact on Hotel Design

It is no longer enough for hotels today to simply maintain a Facebook page or Twitter account. They need to consider how they come across on social media. In order to encourage guests to take pictures and share them on social media channels, hotels need to create ‘wow’ environments. Infinity pools, rooftop bars and unique ‘selfie spaces’ will become increasingly important.

A Focus on Fitness

Workout rooms used to be dark, windowless spaces with some meager equipment. In the future, hotels will invest considerable money in their fitness centers. Some will put treadmills into the guest rooms so guests can work out privately. Others will offer comprehensive wellness programs that target meditation, physical fitness and healthy food options.

Emphasis on Locally-Sourced Food

Many hotel guests express a desire for organic, locally-sourced food. Hotels are responding with farm-to-table menus. A growing number of resorts are launching urban farms, rooftop beehives and herb gardens. In many cases, traditional vending machines will be retrofitted to dispense healthy snacks, handcrafted salads and sandwiches.

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