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Can a Hotel Lobby Become a Lifestyle Center?

May 2, 2010

The lobby at Viceroy hotel, Miami (photos: Viceroy, Hilton, Sheraton)

After having entered endless times a dark, boring, lifeless hotel or resort lobby I thought to myself: A lobby is the first impression of a hotel when the guest enters for the first time. I am not just referring to the lighting, design, furniture or views but also to the quality of the lounge menus, bars & overall service orientation.

The lobby at Hilton hotel, New York

A hotel lobby does not need a particular out of the ordinary concept but rather an atmosphere that not only would allow comfort facilities to in house guests, but encourage spending additional monies for other services. Such as food, technologies, relevant products – and even use lobbies as a venue for some cultural displays of gallery paintings or art objects.

Although there are some good examples of income producing lobbies – such as few Tel-Aviv business hotels that know how to attract business meetings and charge for everything including WIFI access.

The lobby at Sheraton hotel, Edinburgh

Actually I recommend that WIFI access is indeed FREE in lobby areas and outside pool areas: hotel guests find a charge of 5 dollar for coffee and 15 dollar for wireless access to be both petty and annoying. But this is another discussion. In any case lobbies are central to hotels and it is about time to give them our uttermost respect. There is great potential in selling tons of things.

Let’s look at a great example portraying how to change the function/purpose of an existing space. The example exists many years in the US and actually is not a hotel set up but rather a retail – mall set up.

In the late nineties the term “Lifestyle Center” was introduced by ICSC (International Council of Shopping Center) and refers to a commercial area, replacing the conventional closed malls that are set up in a very large space that includes outlet center with high fashion stores such a Banana Republic and BARNES & NOBLE.

Not far you can find large restaurants such as Cheesecake Factory and most times you will find a large cinema complex. There is indeed a attempt in Israel to mirror this trend and at times very successful. These areas are usually complemented by gardens & music.

This example can provide us with insight on how to make a hotel lobby also a “lifestyle center”.

How? One way is to re-design lobbies to include small different areas that guests can experience some kind of activity, whether it is related to food such as a sushi bar area or a juice bar area.

Why not have a small private cinema or a comfortable library or music center where you can rent out videos, books etc.

Set up a Hi-Tech corner and sell internet & business services. We don’t need casinos in lobbies in order to make money! Prices need to be really reasonable!

What about two or three small boutiques or concept shops such as spices or chocolates or a bicycle shop or magazine & card shop that would replace the not so pleasant “hotel gift shops” and empty hair salons?

Hotels like Daniel Herzelia has a real cinema room that attracts weekend business. Daniel Dead Sea has even a bowling alley center! Some resorts such as Mitzpe Hayamin have great organic farm stores.

This is great but imagine coming into a hotel – whether a business hotel or a Resort – and finding yourself getting into a world of fun products and great food & drinks to buy what’s actually relevant to you, without feeling someone wants to sell you a 5 dollar coffee and a 15 dollar WIFI.

3 Comments leave one →
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