Functional trends in hotel design

There is no doubt the digital revolution has had a major influence on our lives. Not only do we now have phones permanently in our pockets, but we also take laptops and iPads with us on business trips. Our workspace has changed considerably, and offices have become much more flexible than they were only a few years ago.

But what about hotels — and hotel design?

We all know hotel design needs to change in terms of functionality, but the fact is that large hotel companies are sometimes very slow to adapt their standards and allow their designers to create spaces that are more appropriate for hotel guests.

For example, we designers are often required to plan a “business center” even though “printing on demand” is generally what guests need. And guestrooms still require up to three fixed telephones — one each on the nightstand and desk and one in the bathroom. The argument from hotels is that they are needed for wake-up calls and security, but every hotelier knows that the phones are rarely used because guests tend to use their own mobiles.

We could also debate the need for a desk in the guestroom at all (including in business hotels), as most guests sit on the bed or in a comfortable armchair to work on their laptops. I know some people do prefer a desk and chair, however, could this not be an option — like “tub” or “shower” — to have a room with or without a desk?

And then there is the never-ending story of plugs. All our mobile devices need to be plugged in so they can charge while not in use, yet there are NEVER enough sockets in a hotel guestroom!

Below are images of my “plug-in-exercises” taken in our holiday resort — which, by the way, was obviously not a “design” hotel!