Richmond International continues its new ‘Travel with Richmond’ series as it takes a forward-thinking look at what future guests may expect to see in hotel design in coming years. Each week, the award-winning design studio walks us through a new experience in a different part of the hotel. Through the lens of a prospective guest, we explore first-hand how the pandemic has affected the industry’s approach to hotels of the future. This week, Richmond focuses on the guest room…
“Our guest room was always going to be the most anticipated part of our stay, after all we can choose (or not) to visit the restaurants and spa but the room itself has to play the biggest part in our hotel experience.
Even before we stepped through the door the increasing use of tech to cut down on interactions meant we could use our phone-controlled key using the hotel app to gain entry. After a digital check-in – this was no surprise – knowing there was an alternative ‘real’ key if needed it was a reassurance, particularly as its been known for my phone battery to let me down.
Though subtle, I did appreciate the use of the hands-free design changes to the traditional guest room. The light switches and temperature controls were again, available via the hotel app plus the touchless functionality of the step-activated taps in the bathroom meant that we saw a distinct reduction in the often talked about ‘high touch point’ areas.
Happily, the room itself was sizeable and while my husband and I are lucky enough to stay in suites in a number of hotels, it is not often we are spoilt with the space available in a standard room. Suspecting we had been upgraded I was later informed that this larger room size was typical across the hotel to allow guests ample space for exercise, and for business guests to work. We noticed that the hotel gym had become less popular and now it seems it is regularly the case that bookings are required and so guests are choosing to workout in-room. Our room had been provided with a yoga mat, tucked in the wardrobe and of course, our app provided us with numerous links to the hotel’s own guided workout video classes.
Much has been said recently of antimicrobial or antibacterial properties in various materials and as a non-scientifically minded guest I certainly cannot verify those claims, but I can say it looks stunning. Quartz and copper are both antimicrobial and were used throughout the bathroom to striking effect. We even discovered that the wall paint was antimicrobial as were the bedding and towels. More understated was the reduction in joints and recesses seen in the furniture. The fewer gaps (I imagine) the less dirt and germs that can be collected. The result was smooth and seamless surfaces, it felt distinctly more minimalist.
The appeal of our room lay not just in its size or technical novelties however, but in its design. Staying in a luxury hotel we expect a certain standard and while I appreciate the cleanliness and hygienic touches, I still really wanted to stay in a beautiful room. The space, design and materials we were surrounded by in our room, all combined to create our sense of a relaxed stay.”
Click here to see Richmond’s travel series articles on Design Insider.
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