The ‘Suite-est’ Thing: LifeStyle Hotels Driving Local Flavor & Budget
Hip, stylish, contemporary hotels are typically found in large cities like NYC, LA, and Chicago, but a new hotel trend has given secondary cities like Madison Wisconsin, Oklahoma City, and Pittsburgh Pennsylvania the chance to experience lifestyle driven hotels that reflect the city’s character and story, appreciation of design and detail, and provide a local community hangout.
Boutique hotels are described as small hotels which have typically between 10 and 100 rooms in unique settings with upscale accommodations. Over the year’s these hotels have turned more into lifestyle destination spots geared toward those who want to differentiate their stay away from cookie-cutter hotels while maintaining budget friendly rates. While luxury and quality are key influences in these lifestyle hotels, creating an exclusive adventure that relates to the city is the driving factor behind each unique design.
Lifestyle hotels offer smaller rooms with more amenities. The intent is to provide an experience within the hotel that is outside of your guest room, promoting social interaction with other guest or locals. Walking into a hotel entrance and seeing a bar in the lobby with lounge seating or a small restaurant in the hotel is nothing new, but taking those ideas to the next level is a new concept. Designing multiple areas where people can socialize, quietly work, and game are popular in lifestyle brand hotels. Some of these amenities include outdoor movie screens, outdoor restaurants and bars, and gaming areas that include shuffleboard. People want to interact with other people and these gathering areas create a fun space for that to happen.
Another fun twist on the lifestyle brand hotels include local food, artwork, and breweries who team up with hotels to promote the city’s flavor without the need to walk out the front door. If you are traveling for business and don’t have time to be a tourist for the day, bringing the city’s culture to the hotel is the next best thing. Traveling is not the only part of the adventure. Influences of the hotel you surround yourself in enhances the experience and allows you to get a taste of the city.
QUALITY + DETAIL
The design of lifestyle driven hotels pays attention to how the details create the local story. It is not about just creating a timeline history wall in a lobby to tell of a buildings history or providing mints on the pillows, it is about creating a level of quality that confirms the guest made a choice based on local connection. Several lifestyle hotels have recreated historical buildings by recreating and repurposing the local story, referencing historical floor plans or pictures to capture the building’s original significance. Guest who seek these experiences take notice to the holistic approach that reassures the hotel quality.
The venture to design a boutique hotel that integrates the local flavor is more than the building, furniture, and finishes. The context of the hotel must mean something for the community, engaging how the building is not just for travelers but for those in proximity to the development. A cities vibe and culture are made up not by what is provided but by its community of people. Lifestyle hotels give opportunities for creating memories through conversation pieces, photo opportunities, and even community events such as pop and funk dance night, art exhibitions, and guest speakers. Helping guest and locals intentionally create memories reinforces a positive interaction with the lifestyle hotel and the local culture.
About the authors (Shelby Weber & Lori Kreke): Shelby was named as one of the “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges” in 2013 and 2014 during her time at La Roche College. She is currently on the board for NEWH Hospitality organization and is SEED certified in public interest design. Her project portfolio includes many areas of interior design, including multifamily housing, corporate, hospitality, and single family homes.
Lori is a LEED Green Associate and is NCIDQ certified. Her project portfolio expands many areas of interior design including multifamily housing, corporate, higher education, hospitality, and retail. Lori’s academic and professional pursuits emphasize the history and theory of design, building and computer technologies, and sustainable design.