GLOBAL REPORT—“If you travel everywhere and find the same elements everywhere, somehow it reduces the value of the place.”
The oft-cited quote from French designer Gwenael Nicolas of Tokyo-based Curiosity studio underscores a shift within the hotel industry. Whereas cookie-cutter consistency once was a selling point for the uninformed masses, today’s more sophisticated travelers want localization in their hotel offerings.
The guestroom should not exist in a vacuum, guests say, but rather should reflect its local surroundings through service and style and, in particular, strong design.
Hotel chains are following suit, encouraging some flexibility where once rigid standardization ruled the day. Boutique properties have more leeway, their operators touting the unique character that lies within.
Pushing the envelope even further are the outliers—those properties where design is a true calling card in against a sea of commoditization. They are few and far between. They are also unmistakable.
To find the most innovative among them, Hotel News Now sought the insight of designers around the world. They named five (plus one unexpected bonus).