The hotel room of the future is already here today
Check -in to a hotel room and what do you see? At first glance, there’s the bed, two bedside tables, a wardrobe, mirror and a bathroom. Now, go down memory lane to that check - in you did, some fifteen years or so ago, at another hotel. Doesn’t seem any different now and then, does it? Hold that thought. In reality hotel rooms have changed and continue to do so – as hotels compete with each other in a race to adapt to the needs of tomorrow’s traveller.
Research indicates that six out of ten guests upon entering their hotel room check out the bathroom immediately to make sure that it is clean and equipped including properly folded fresh towels. More notably, yet less noticed, is that, the hotel bathroom of today is larger than it was two decades ago. As bathrooms expand more and more – equaling upto 50% or more of the total bedroom, there is the likelihood of the guest room becoming smaller.
The guestroom bathroom used to be very basic. There was a vanity, a bathtub/shower combo and a water closet. No more. Research also shows that guests nowadays increasingly evaluate a room based on the bathroom. The quality of the bathroom is measured by the number of fixtures such as featuring two sinks, ample counter space, separate shower (with a rain shower head)and bathtub, etc. A well illuminated bathroom too has become very important, since guests want to have space for a vanity to get ready for the day / evening. All in all, bathroom design is shifting towards a residential trend…some tilting towards a spa-like level.
As the bathroom encroaches into the total guest room space, the bedroom becomes smaller. However, technology thankfully has voided the space dilemma. For example the flat screen TV installed on the wall has eliminated the need for the cabinet to accommodate yesteryears bulky TV set. Rooms already have high-tech features that enable guests to control the lights, blinds and air-conditioning with their phones. Talking of phones – whilst there is a growing call to take out the phone in the room, the message is clear; it’s no longer about giving you the phone, but more about giving you the app to use on your phone.
Subtle changes include rooms having several easy-to access outlets to charge one’s phone, laptop, camera, etc. No longer do you have to get on your knees or move furniture around to get to that outlet. Guests staying a day or two rarely unpack, so away with the sizable closets. Instead, what you will see are open shelving and spaces for luggage – all cleverly designed to convey the impression of more space.
Quality bedding is another improvement. Duvet covers, which an increasing number of guests are reluctant to even touch, will soon disappear and it may be curtains for curtains perhaps thereafter.
Hotel room carpets for a long time were patterned and dark in colour – easier to clean as they hid stubborn stains. However, since the visibility of cleanliness is high on everyone’s priorities, hotels are embracing light carpets.
The emphasis on today’s hotel room is to be comfortable, compact and at arm’s reach, and, with the lobby designed to be the magnet for work and social activities, the license for the room to get smaller, high-tech and functional is a done deal.
Ilzaf Keefahs – writes on hospitality-related matters that he is passionate about, and likes to share his views with hoteliers and customers alike.