Multifunctional spaces

Multifunctional spaces

Do these “all-in-one” spaces reflect guests’ evolving lifestyle — or do they just reduce costs for owners and operators?

I still remember the good old times when a typical hotel would automatically have at least two dining facilities, one serving only breakfast and then an individual à la carte restaurant. Of course, the better hotels would also have an additional fine dining establishment and maybe even some private banquet rooms.

The lobby was just a lobby, and if it had a bar (we called it a coffee bar), then there would also definitely be a separate night bar. The business centrer would be close to the lobby – sometimes combined with a secretary, as “managers” did not use computers themselves.

But nowadays everything is “open plan” with the lobby, lounge, restaurant, bar, meeting space, business center and relaxation spaces all mixed together. In comparison to the functional layouts and space required during my early days in business, there has clearly been about a 50% reduction in the footprint of a hotel’s public areas.

But stepping into a lifestyle atmosphere like this, you can see that it seems to work.


citizenM Amsterdam lobby

Young business professionals are glued to their laptops, others hang on sofas with one leg over the armrest and talk loudly with each other – or even more loudly on their mobile phones. People watch TV, listen to music, conduct interviews, eat, drink, and relax. It has become obvious that hotel public spaces have transformed into private living rooms.

So to answer the question raised above, I think that we save space and reduce costs while guests seem to gain more comfort. The only uncertainty I am left with is to wonder if these young, good-looking people in the lobby might have also days when they don’t want to join the party, when they want to have true privacy and be served as guests, not as friends.