In the last ten years, hotel architecture and design have experienced important changes and updates aimed at improving the guests’ experience, in order to best respond to a need of identity and recognition towards the places and the surrounding environment.
Therefore, the hotel design has changed to allow travelers an authentic experience of local culture knowledge, going beyond the standardization principles coming from the American hotel culture.
All this reflected in the efforts of hotel architects anddesigners, who try to best interpret the spirit of the places in each hotel detail. In fact, they are aware of how an accurate and friendly design can match an effective use of spaces and constructions that are developed in a rational way.
The adoption of an architectural development model spread mainly in resorts and leisure structures, which best allowed architectural styles and elements in tune with the places and the uniqueness of host countries, especially for the largest international hotel companies and in major architecture offices.
Even city hotel structures, which were oriented to business clients, gathered later the stimuli of new styles and changed to welcome more and more international clients. Such changes concerned the structure common spaces, aggregation and sociality spaces and the most intimate spaces, such as rooms and suites.
Furthermore, for all kinds of hospitality properties there has been a functional innovation path, due to technology advancements and building automation. Such innovation reflects in the travelers’ stay that have now the new technologies to best enjoy their experience within the hotel. For example, automation has made the hotel rooms much more enjoyable places and at the same time has enabled the supply of services oriented to today’s travelers.
A very important aspect arising in the hotel architecture development is certainly the Space Allocation, namely the planning of the spaces dedicated to the different areas and services offered by the structure.
Such planning represents a critical aspect of the hotel project feasibility, since it consists of a more effective distribution of the different areas included in the architectural project. Therefore, a study on the most suitable distribution of such areas is necessary and it has to be focused on services and their supply to the structure guests, so that the planning is not just a list of building services and areas. To better understand the vocation of the accommodation unit and program the available space, it is necessary to realize a careful market study in which the hotel will have to operate, also to evaluate the potential demand and size the hotel unit according to such demand.
To make the distribution of internal and external areas of the project effective, it is also necessary to associate each providable service in the building with the potential demand and obtain the spaces to assign to the single hotel services.
This allows to assign the largest space to those services that mainly contribute to hotel incomes, allowing a really effective use of spaces, which will naturally have a development cost.
Generally, the sectors producing incomes are rooms and food and beverage. Therefore, such services will occupy the largest spaces of the building. Minor sectors, such as laundry, parking lot, internal shops and wellness services will have adequate space according to their contribution to the total incomes of the hotel.
The space assigned to rooms can differ significantly in the different hotel categories. Spaces are calculated considering that each area requires suitable public and service spaces, which are not visible to final clients. Furthermore, there are some areas that can be highly reduced. However, they have to be included in the space allocation project because they are functional to the hotel use.
Suitable spaces have to be dedicated also to installations and machinery, which contribute to improve the comfort perceived by clients. Installations are very often situated on the building covering or in the basement, allowing assigning the best areas to client services.
Food and beverage is composed of rooms, kitchens and warehouses. The use of such space is often hardly justifiable according to the incomes derived by this service. However, the presence of food and beverage outlets is necessary for some structure categories and it cannot be reduced even if the contribution margin is low or negative.
This way, the lowest hotel categories, such as budget and economy ones, have plenty of space for rooms, because auxiliary services are often excluded or very limited.
On the contrary, four or five star hotels have fewer surfaces for rooms, because they have to include a much wider range of auxiliary services. Leisure and resort structures have the lowest percentage of space for rooms compared to the whole architectural project, since they include vast public areas and multiple services offered to clients.
Therefore, realizing a successful hotel architectural project depends on multiple factors, which are all important and deserve analysis. Even with relation to the strong competition on the market, the most suitable path now is realizing a combined study between architects and professionals who are qualified in hotel management. The aim is to address the architectural project towards the realization of a hotel product which is sustainable and functional to the market conditions in which it will be operating.