NEWH - November 2003 - (Page 42)
approaching the design
of a boutique hotel…
by: Nancy Bohnett
International Woodwork Corporation
Accommodations in lodging have always been directed
with the guest and basic needs in mind. As the lodging
industry grew, so did competition and the desire of each
Hotel to single themselves out from the others. The
brand name, reputation, location or special guests that it
serviced usually identified the Hotel. With the increased
ease of travel, Hotels now offer additional guest room
amenities, yet not much has changed with design.
The typical room marketed today still remains roughly the
same size - 350 to 400 square feet - which is driven by
necessity. It was rare to visit a lodging facility that has
gone outside the boundaries of a “typical” lodging
design, yet, boutiques were just waiting to happen. These
properties offered unique elements that were almost considered strange...or too expensive for the typical guest.
Photo courtesy of Wimberly Allison Tong + Goo
Over time, brand hotels started to provide a more intimate guest experience, yet, they did not vary much from
property to property. Each brand offered its own color and
theme-related experience, yet uniquely, the service was
the independent factor that personalized each property.
The brands were locked into the “why mess with success,” thus little change occurred within the design and
direction of the interiors. Over time, the guests’ level of
sophistication had increased, and so did the demands on
the designer and the associated spaces. This ultimately
created the desire and market for unique environments.
Hotel owners realized the need to offer the guest an unexpected treat and experience which meant their loyalty in
As one looks at the growing Boutique Hotel market, we
recognize that many brand Hotels do not believe that
change is necessary. In sharing designer’s views on the
cross over from brands to Boutiques, I welcomed the
input from three design firms and their involvement with
recent boutique projects. Each client and approach is different, although there is a common thread of wanting to
create an emotional connection with the guest.
Jim Gueguierre at Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo (WATG)
shares a unique property within the Pan Pacific Hotel in
Singapore, with 40 guestrooms and lobbies within the
850 room business hotel. The services fueled the
Boutique atmosphere and accommodated the guest with
twenty-four hour chauffeur and concierge service, an outdoor pool with underwater sound system, business center, conference facilities, spa and fitness center - all on
one floor of the Hotel and shared by two dedicated lobbies incorporating original Pacific Rim artwork. These
accommodations are considered to be the best in the
Southeast Asia, and highly sought after by International
guests who appreciate their elegance and impact.
WATG’s focus was not in appealing to the
broadest possible number of guests, but to
the individual comfort of a relatively small
number of discriminating and technologically
savvy travelers; they should feel as if their
needs and likes are being personally
addressed. The need that they did not want
to overlook was to accommodate ample
workspace within the guestroom, using comfortable task chairs. In accommodating the
practical expectations of the sophisticated
business executives, they equally acknowledged the self-indulgences like a six-head
shower and other various creature comforts.
Tonya Burke, Wilson and Associates, shared
with us the excitement of being involved with
the Little Dix Bay Resort & Spa in the British
Virgin Islands, a Rosewood Hotels property.
The emphasis to create a sense of place,
and a sense of home was accomplished with
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NEWH - November 2003
NEWH - November 2003
Letter From the Editor
On the Road Again... IHM&RS Show
Tips on Specs... Guestroom Lighting
Spotlight on the UK
Spotlight on Greater New York
Random Thoughts... Designing Today’s Boutique
Boutique Chain – Is It an Oxymoron?
Developing Boutique Hotels in Historic Structures
Unique Boutiques... The Story of Watertown
Approaching the Design of a Boutique Hotel
What Sets a Boutique Apart from the Rest?
Small Business Advice
Industry Partner Education
Sources & Credits
NEWH - November 2003