Outgrowth of design

We all are confronted in our daily work with design ideas that just are not feasible, neither economical nor in daily use. 

I know of a 250-key hotel of a major international brand with furniture produced mostly out of Corian. It looks great, but the hotel had to employ a crew of three people, in addition to the regular staff, who are permanently busy to clean and repair scratches. Not to mention that the construction budget exploded. I am sure you know many more similar cases.

I always wonder why owners and also operators accept such concepts. Design is an important factor of a successful hotel. As we see boutique hotels popping out at every corner and the major brands are following the trend by creating new boutique brands, design gets more and more important to attract the customer. However, at the end of the day the hotels have to work profitably and be attractive to their clients.

If design is taken to an extreme, these goals are at risk. If materials used look great, but require exceptional efforts to clean and maintain, this will drive the operating cost. Another aspect is the sustainability of the design. A very trendy design may be outdated within short time. To stay attractive to the guests the periods between full renovations may get shorter. If the business model takes this into consideration – perfect!

In my point of view, a design is only great if it is not only esthetically outstanding but if it is also practical for guest use and operation without exceeding project budgets.

Here are two examples, both from hotels that I recently visited. The first takes the concept of an open and lighted bathroom to an extreme. In fact, there is only a curtain separating the bathroom and toilet from the rest of the room.

Number two is from a 4-star hotel – I wonder if anyone thought about how the bed can be made without climbing on the bed and where the guests put the things they usually put on the nightstand?