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The lost desk

I recently read an article about Marriott planning to omit the desk and desk chair in the guest rooms. There were also several comments to this in the social media. The reason for this – we are told – are the Millennials. They need no desk, because they use their handhelds, laptops and rather work in the hotel lobby or anywhere else than in the room. I do not know if this age group is aware for how many issues they are used as an argument.

As I understand Marriott’s argument, they want to move the desk from small rooms to gain more space. This is a good argument. Many of the guest rooms in the size area of 20 square meters (65.62 square feet) are packed with furniture and sometimes it is hard to move around.

If the desk is removed from the guest room we lose a place to work and write (yes, I still write sometimes!), but also a space where you can put loose items during your stay. I always drop my things – valet, tickets, receipts, magazines and documents – on the desk as there is no other place in the room – nightstands are to small and inconveniently located.

This leads to a discussion to rethink the furniture of guest rooms and question what we need, what we need it for and what we do not need. The discussion is, of course, limited to small budget room size.

Motel One, Berlin Ku'Damm
Motel One, Berlin Ku’Damm
New design at Holiday Inn Express
New design at Holiday Inn Express

The example of Motel One shows a minimal option of a table, which can be used as desk or just to put things as there is no more other space in the room. Others like Holiday Inn Express move in the same direction. The desk is not really planned for to work there. Or it is replaced by a table, but it is big enough to put your laptop there to check your emails etc. Yotel calls their rooms “cabins.” The nightstand is converted to a desk.

Yotel, Premium Queen Cabin, New York City
Yotel, Premium Queen Cabin, New York City
Yotel, Premium Queen Cabin floorplan, New York City
Yotel, Premium Queen Cabin floorplan, New York City

These are some examples of recent design developments. What all of them is in common is the focus on the bed and the bathroom – probably the most important features of guestroom.

The discussions and the developments to reduce the furniture of a guest room to a minimum are positive for all – owners, operators and clients – as long as the usability of the room is not restricted. I hope that it will not lead to new room categories – room with or without desk.

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