Boutique Design - July/August 2017 - 44
current boom is unlikely to come to what Patel described as a "hard stop."
Instead, a gradual slowdown is more likely "notwithstanding some unforeseen
major event," said Fay. Participants also agreed that when the cycle does slow,
that's likely to translate into more soft-goods renovations that reflect tightening budgets.
THE LATEST LOOKS IN GUEST ROOM DESIGN: Studio Twist founder
Michelle Wildenhaus said she's seeing a move away from "an all-white landscape in every guest room" to environments that incorporate multiple textures
and colors. Jayne Menke, president of Artonomy Inc./Miller Gallery, seconded
that, noting that designers are expanding the art programs in hotels to include
all kinds of media, not just prints, and also are looking at new kinds of
substrates to expand the visual/graphic offering. "Designers now want hotel art
that will stand out, not blend in," Menke said.
CR's Gaddes emphasized that quality, rather than quantity, is key to
impactful art installations. "One outstanding and relevant piece of art per room
can have more impact than two or three mediocre ones, and with no impact on
the budget," she explained.
SPACE TRENDS WITHIN HOTELS: Architects Plus' Erdman said lobbies are
getting bigger, in response to consumers' growing demand for socializing/
working/dining space in hotels, while guest rooms are shrinking. But Fay
thinks the latter trend can be a turnoff to guests. "It's a mistake to shrink the
room footprint," he said, explaining that while a smaller room might be fine for
younger travelers or where real estate is at such a premium that nothing else
would be financially workable, "Guests like to have space in their rooms. They
want to feel comfortable and they also want to feel they're getting value for
FRCH's Stapleton noted that any hotel built to a very specific brand footprint with unusually small or uniquely laid-out spaces may be hard to convert
to another brand in the future. "And because this type of property usually
boutiquedesign.com july + August 2017
involves custom millwork and built-in casegoods, they're also expensive to
renovate," Stapleton explained.
But a smaller footprint for another type of venue-the meeting room-can be
a boon to boutique hotels, as long as they are inviting, light-filled spaces, says Jeff
Eagle, vice president of construction at Winegardner & Hammons Hotel Group.
"Boutique properties typically can't compete with large hotels and their larger
ballrooms for major functions," Eagle said, but there are a lot of training sessions
and other small meetings that niche competitors can accommodate.
He adds that meeting planners typically want a room with windows and
other amenities that make time spent in the space as pleasant as possible.
Several participants agreed with that sentiment, noting that hotels that
currently have these spaces in either basements or windowless interior rooms
should move them elsewhere.
EMBRACEABLE BRANDS: When it comes to hoteliers they like to work with,
Marriott Intl. won widespread praise from participants, especially for its fastgrowing MOXY and AC Hotels flags, while Hilton's mid-tier and select-service
brands, including Hampton Inn & Suites, drew plaudits. In addition, Hyatt
netted kudos from several participants as a company on the upswing, thanks
to such brands as Hyatt Place and Hyatt Centric. Hyatt fans include Fay, who
sits on that hotelier's ownership council. "They listen, and they want to do
things right," he said. However, several participants noted that hoteliers experiencing ongoing changes in their c-suites, such as InterContinental Hotels
Group (IHG), have left some question marks for owners and franchisees.
SUMMING UP STATEMENT: A local truism (often attributed to Mark Twain)
holds that if you want to avoid the end of the world, go to Cincinnati, as everything happens there 10 years later than anywhere else. But that's definitely not
the case with the city's hotel market, participants said. Summed up Winegardner & Hammons' Eagle: "Cincinnati is a microcosm for what's happening
in the rest of the country."
I N K L I N G C R E AT I V E G R O U P
Participants in the State of the Industry session were (left to right): Bimal Patel, Rolling Hills Hospitality; Tedd Swormstedt, Boutique Design parent company ST Media
Group Intl.; David Arends, CR architecture + design; Jeff Eagle, Winegardner & Hammons Hotel Group; Jim Stapleton, FRCH Design Worldwide; Kelly Gaddes, CR
architecture + design; Michelle Finn, ST Media Group/Hospitality Media Group LLC; Matt Erdman, Architects Plus; Michelle Wildenhaus, Studio Twist; Matthew Hall and
Mary Scoviak, Boutique Design; Daniel Fay, Commonwealth Hotels LLC; Oriana Lerner, Boutique Design; Jayne Menke, Artonomy Inc./Miller Gallery; Scott Rickles and
Melani Beattie, Boutique Design; Declan McCormack, CR architecture + design; and Christina Green, Boutique Design.