Of instant room service and breathing walls
LAST year industry professionals gathered at the Hospitality Design 2005 expo in Las Vegas to predict what guest rooms would look like in the year 2025.
They were told to figure out the Big Idea. And they did. The creative juices flowed and participants, urged to think out the box and with no monetary restraints, did just that. They came up with a “wall that breathes, where,” says Kitty Bean Yancey in USA Today “designers conceived a back-to-nature hotel rooms with a lush living wall of grass-like vegetation. The wall, with built-in watering and lighting system, could serve as an air-filtering system too.
Then there was ‘My Spa’, the bathroom that brings hotel spa to the guest the dynamic ‘Window Imagery’, a technologically advanced hotel window that can make a bad day look beautiful and the ‘Instant Room Service,’ a pneumatic and robotic meal delivery and preparation service that operates faster than humans.
But that was last year. This June, the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts introduced three new hotel prototypes created by the internationally acclaimed architecture firm Michael Graves & Associates. The prototypes were designed to mix guest rooms and meeting and social space to accommodate local market preferences. They feature a lounge where guests can convene, work and eat; 24-hour food mart; front porch with rocking chairs and regional art decorating the hallways.
Instead of a traditional hotel front desk, guests will find a ‘pod’ system created to ensure a friendlier guest experience. The pods remove the traditional desk barrier and enable service agents to freely move about to interact with guests when checking them in and out of the hotel.
The Graves group designed a ‘kit of parts’ to give developers of new construction and conversion properties the flexibility to mix and match key guest-room components in an economical way that is appropriate for the local market. It includes various furniture configurations including options for closet space, desk and casework arrangements in the guest rooms.
Dubbed ‘The Room that Performs’, the guest room prototype features a large work desk; the signature Wyndham Smart Chair and a welcome centre with a coffeemaker, TV remote control, ice bucket and mini-fridge. Guest rooms will be decorated with wall paper and photographic images featuring regional scenes as well as original Michael Graves artwork.
The Smart Chair is equipped with easily accessible power and Internet outlets to provide guests with a functional space to use their laptop, charge their personal data assistant and connect to the Net. The chair also features pivoting table arms and is covered with a specially engineered fabric that resists stains and bacteria.
“Our objective was to marry good design and functional innovation to create a hotel that is practical, warm, personable and inviting,” says Peter Strebel, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts president. “In designing the prototypes, the Graves team created a truly practical space with distinctive look that draws on regional elements. Both the common areas and guest rooms are streamlined spaces equipped with useful amenities,” he adds.