Foundations of Successful Hotel Design

Tanic Interior Design Agency - Hotel foundations

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Successful hotel design requires planning. Let us address these essential aspects that you should be aware of when planning a hotel design project.

Hotels make the framework for the entire tourism industry, almost as old as the civilisation itself. In fact, hospitality amenities can be traced back to early times, and later to ancient Greeks and Romans. While the first facilities revolved around providing utilitarian accommodation for duty travellers, the field began to grow with the development of the first thermal baths, slowly turning more towards hedonism and experience.

Finally, independent accommodation establishments such as inns multiplied and evolved, rounding up the offer with the dining option, and marking the birth of the hotel scene we know today. The rest of the path is firmly rooted in architecture and design.

When exploring guest reviews on popular hospitality platforms, you can notice how the most common drawbacks are often the same. Dated appeal easily hits the top of the list, alongside typical issues like dysfunctional amenities or inadequate services. And for a good reason.

Starting From the Foundations

Building a hotel in a stunning destination is a great base, but it’s all that is – a base. The promise of exquisite views and exciting adventures needs support in an equally impressive hospitality experience. Providing guests peace of mind at every detail through a blend of convenience and aesthetics means giving them a chance to truly relax and enjoy.

The modern customer has high expectations when it comes to the hotel experience. The importance of hotel design in providing the best guest experience is profound. Design shapes the visual experience, creates ambience and provides a comfortable stay.

Hotel design is a synthesis of elements. It blends philosophy, style and substance, to create a functional identity.

A successful hotel design concept should grow from the foundations, just like the building itself. Each of those covers an essential element of hospitality services, such as storytelling, target audience, space identity, spatial design, and services. Each component is developed independently yet tightly interacting with the others to create a unique, consistent whole.

Tanic Interior Design Agency - Hotel foundations

Root It All in a Good Story

When working with your design agency, start by thinking about everything you wish to offer to your customers, along with the ways to deliver. The purpose is to create the concept of the hotel’s story – a set of reasons why the guests should choose your property above others, enjoy their visit, and leave with a desire to return soon.

Storytelling defines the unique character of your hotel; it sets the base for growing experience and conveys abstract feelings that go far beyond providing a bed and breakfast. It connects with the guest on subconscious levels, triggering emotional responses that affect their perception and decisions. In other words, the story you present heavily influences their willingness to stay longer, spend more, and write a great review.

A successful story becomes an inherent part of the place, evolves with it, shifts into the legend, and sometimes lasts longer than the establishment itself. It can’t be easily replicated by competition, making it a vital element of your brand identity.

An engaging narrative is a fundament of the entire creative concept, determining factor for all design segments. It can grow from the location or history – or convey something entirely new. Along with the target guest groups, spatial design, infrastructure, management, and staff all play a role in keeping the flow consistent. In addition, the tale should consider the budget, goals, and overall expectations, including the return on investment.

According to some hospitality experts, a successful hotel design with a strong story can increase the ROI up to 70%.

Tanic Interior Design Agency - Hotel foundations

Setting Targets: Whom Do You Wish to Attract?

When you are a hotel owner, your business is focused on human beings, revolving around their personalities, social status, aspirations, and habits. That means the interior design should communicate with both their aesthetic and functional needs. The role of the targeted creative process here is to create a common experience, with a similar yet personal impact on each visitor. A business-oriented hotel in the city centre requires specific aesthetics and different organisation than, for instance, a boutique hotel for experience seekers – or a tropical paradise.

Also, your guests might belong to a compact structure or come from all kinds of different cultures. While most travellers have in common the need for some form of socialisation, relaxation and gastronomic indulgence, only some of them lean towards having fun, creating memories, and escaping from a daily routine. For that reason, it’s imperative to be aware of your targeted guest groups’ average habits, needs, and expectations, in order to successfully translate them into an experience.

Tanic Interior Design Agency - Hotel foundations


Theming and Identity as Character Foundations

Visual identity is composed of graphic imagery, lines, shapes, colours, surfaces, and proportions. It includes everything from the layouts to the materials used. Enhanced by the other sensory experiences such as sound, theming concepts and the style of the service, it becomes a character. Every single detail counts as a building element here, with the power to enhance or impair. In addition, the character grows from the storytelling, hence should be fully in line with its concept.

One of the most important assets of the visual identity is its role in the perceived value of the establishment. Its quality and consistency penetrate the guests’ minds, creating a sensorial connection that will make them love it or hate it, remember or forget.

Keep in mind that most of your guests are probably familiar with the industry standards. If you aim to stand out from the competition and get remembered for offering something unique, playing safe and sticking to stereotypes might not be the best approach. Creating an authentic experience even within the standard limits is not only possible but also desirable and potentially lucrative. It applies to everything from the choice of fabrics and paintings to playlists and signature scents.

When thinking about theming, keep in mind the category and target groups as well as the locations and possible heritage. A luxury hotel, for instance, thrives from providing a pampering experience in every detail. In terms of identity, that fact opens a broad field of opportunities, from branded luggage tags to bespoke fabrics and patterns.

If your goal is to deliver a home-away-from-home type of experience for families, reflect it in interior design. And if your establishment is blessed with a rich history, build your theming around that point and reach uniqueness through a shortcut.

Tanic Interior Design Agency - Hotel foundations

Hotel Spatial Design and Furnishing

Identity and theming attract the audience that likes to see specific values and assets reflected in the interior design, in order to give the place a chance. What they meet at arrival is the next crucial thing. Remember: the first impression makes an influential start, reflecting on your guests’ behaviour.

How would your guests feel at the entrance hall, and can they move around in a logical, convenient manner? Properly optimised space improves their experience while allowing you to maximise the utility of every corner. Notable craftsmanship and curated materials will support your story, showcasing the efforts invested in its creation. Once again, it will affect the property’s value, both real and perceived.

Zoning, traffic flow, and interior design must work together as a whole. Different spaces with specific purposes require suitable placing connected by a smooth, efficient circulation. At the same time, traffic based on intuitive logic will not provoke unwelcome frustration and stress. Interior design should follow that order in a natural manner, ideally enhancing the overall convenience.

Another thing to consider when developing any public space is cultural and social norms that, again, contribute to the establishment’s identity. The layout should follow established practices, the theming, or both. Think how dim lighting, dark wood, and muted colours promote discrete behaviour, while loud, energetic playlists and vibrant palettes encourage social interaction.

Visual balance is important, and it’s best to maintain equal visual weight throughout all spaces. Traditional decor schemes heavily rely on symmetry, while modern concepts embrace the opposite approach. In both ways, a prominent focal point acts as an imaginary axis for building the rest of the decor.

Hotel room design is one of the key points for success. Materials, lighting, theming, scents, should follow the general theming story and ensure cohesiveness in every detail.

Tanic Interior Design Agency - Hotel foundations

Round up your Hotel Design With Services and Technology

Hotels seek accelerated, dynamic and valuable service offerings in line with their notions and available resources. The level of services is an integral part of the hotel design, that adds (or eliminates) a significant portion of its overall value. For that reason, a clever design should work to promote functional assets, rather than creating merely an appealing background.

Having facility planning expert consultants as a part of the designing team is the best path to efficient layouts. Circulation flow should be smooth and organised in a manner that predicts and eliminates critical points. Using durable, quality, easy-to-clean materials will also cut down on maintenance times and labour.

Depending on the hotel size, multiple outlets can be organised to offer more service variety. That includes casual and fine dining, bars, quiet lounges, and nightclubs, as well as different themes related to the hotel’s character.

The modern lifestyle requires technologically advanced rooms suited to the needs of a connected traveller. A TV accompanied with a few simple electrical outlets will rarely make the cut anymore. A free – and reliable – Wi-Fi connection, integrated Bluetooth speakers, and similar room amenities add a lot of value to the hotel’s image. Multifunctional modules, bespoke charging stations, digital lighting and temperature controls will greatly increase comfort and positively affect the staying experience.

Keep up to date with the latest hotel news.

Hotel Design Conclusions

Everything needs to be impeccable in the hospitality industry, with the design being on top. It’s more than just a visual backdrop – it’s a formative element of both the establishment’s identity and guests’ experience, from the first impression to the lingering memories. Hotel design can boost the business, making the difference between the top and flop – hence it’s at least equally important as the quality of the service provided.

A cohesive image seamlessly blends storytelling with all physical elements, making them work as independent, cohesive microcosmos. It grabs the attention, maintains the guests’ focus, and persuades them to stay for the experience. For that reason, choose a design firm that can make an impact, tell us the world your history and render your business distinguishable from the competitors.

Which type of hotel do you have in mind? Take a look to our hotel guide Full-service vs Limited-service for your reference when starting a hotel planning.

About the Author

Yaiza Martinez


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Yaiza Martinez

About The Author 

Although hundreds of people have trusted Yaiza for their businesses, her path to success was not easy. Go here to read her incredible story “From being lost to a Business Owner and Thought Leader“. If you want to send Yaiza a quick message, then visit her contact page here.

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