Nick Brown, Leader, Hospitality UK, LIXIL EMENA, responsible for overseeing hospitality projects for the GROHE brand in the UK, kicks off Design Insider’s Wellbeing campaign by discussing the wellness trends in the hospitality sector.
Wellness is almost synonymous with the idealism of a hotel stay. Whether visiting for business or leisure, a hotel stay offers escapism from the everyday and represents a home-away-from-home to recharge physically and emotionally at the end of the day. Whilst consumers’ perception of wellbeing and what this looks like is constantly evolving, and the products and innovations designed to deliver to create an ambience of wellbeing continue to become more intelligent and advanced, GROHE believes there to be 3 key trends that continue to shape the hotel and wellness market.
Health through water
Spas are often commonplace in hotels and resorts, and for many years have been associated with benefits of health and wellness. Now the health through water concept is beginning to move into the guest suite too to deliver a more tailored, personalised water experience unique to the individual’s requirements. There is a shift towards showers offering more personalised functionalities such as multiple choices of spray patterns. In the premium sector, the shower is being transformed into a complete sensory experience with the use of chromotherapy, steam and sound. Showering and bathing is a ritual that we often use to invigorate us as we start a new day or to soothe us as we wind down at the end of it. It can present itself as a form of self-care in its own right and so the design and specification of the shower space cannot be underestimated when it comes to establishing wellness principles in a hotel environment. It is not only the mental and emotional benefits that health through water can impact but those of a physical and hygiene-focused nature too. Shower toilets harness the gentle cleansing power of water instead of harsh paper to care for your skin, and often come with a range of special features to ensure optimum cleanliness. Advanced features in some models can offer germ-free coatings, multiple spray patterns and personalisation of water temperature, pressure and positioning. Innovative features like shower toilets really champion the use of natural water for promoting better health, hygiene and personal care.
Wellness and sustainability go hand in hand, and where wellness is prioritised, sustainability shouldn’t be too far behind. A hotel experience that promotes wellness through its design and wellbeing facilities should also be mindful of its environmental impact. Wellness is a holistic concept, and guests will want to be able to relax, unwind and enjoy their stay in the knowledge that they can do so in a resource-efficient and considerate way.
Water-efficiency is just one of the key challenges hotels around the globe are seeking to tackle as part of their own sustainability agendas. Fortunately, there are already a number of water-saving technologies, products and brands providing solutions that can improve a hotel’s eco-credentials whilst still ensuring a premium experience for the guest. Looking at the bathroom spaces, both public washrooms and private guest bathrooms, dual-flush plates are a simple addition that can be implemented into bathroom design and empowers guests to make more ecological decisions. Infra-red basin taps are both impressive and hygienic, as well as water-saving, because they only allow water to run when the sensors are activated. Finally, showerheads can use air-infused sprays and a flow-limiting mousseur to reduce water consumption without impacting the experience of the guest. Guests can feel safe and put their trust in a hotel brand that puts sustainability first, and philanthropic behaviours will enhance a sense of wellness throughout their stay.
Less is more when it comes to tech
Technology has a place in the wellness sector but it should be purposeful and discreet rather than gadgets that are overt, flashy or superficial. In an always switched-on society, we rarely take the time to remove ourselves from the digital world. When looking to embrace the principles of wellness in a hotel setting, we don’t want to have to navigate unintuitive controls or engage with gadgets and apps unnecessarily. In the wellness sector, the technology should be much more inherent in the project DNA, a seamless extension of product design with benefits that enhance wellbeing, convenience and user performance. Whilst personalisation is a key trend in the wellness sector, it needs to be accessible and intuitive with easy-to-understand operation.
The most successful and impactful purposeful tech can often be the features that guests don’t actively see. In the bathroom, cold-water start taps, which dispense only cold water when the lever is in the mid-position, are an understated technological feature available in some basin mixer designs that encourage a more ecological use of water, with little impact on consumer behaviour or experience. The circularity and recyclability of a product and its materials is also an area the bathroom market is beginning to tap into and is likely to become an intrinsic part of the wellness-inspired market in the future.
The use of sticker marketing or other discreet displays alongside these products can advise guests of the presence of such technologies and the positive impact use of this product can generate, to ensure that guest awareness is still created.
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