Here at Richmond International we’re always looking ahead for what guests are likely to want and need in luxury hotel design, not just today but in the next five, 10 and 20 years’ time. The hotel of tomorrow is one we anticipate will take into account all the changes that Covid 19 has forced on the hospitality industry. It will be filled with innovative solutions to the post-Covid requirements and will have resolved all the adjustments hoteliers are currently working their way through.
In a series exploring the new world of hospitality design we’ll delve deeper into each area of a modern hotel and the guest journey through it, including the common areas, the spa, dining areas and of course the guest room. Imagining the future of guest experience our travel journal showcases the opportunities, rather than the limitations of the post-covid protocols on a luxury stay.
Arrival at our hotel was bound to be a little different and we expected some changes but while buzzing with people, there was enough space in the expansive lobby so that it didn’t feel either empty or overwhelmed but rather, suitably filled. The furnishings meant there was enough space for us to social distance comfortably, yet there were clearly various areas that had been created with the intention of being functional.
Many of the lobby’s visitors may not have even been overnight guests as plenty were using the opportunity to meet and work together in small groups. Different zones throughout the space were being used flexibly for working and get-togethers, perhaps the space was even more popular since offices ceased to be as vital as they once were.
The option for an online check in is expected now yet, for a luxury stay I also believe that a personal greeting should still be the norm, so I was delighted to see that a staff member on reception was in operation. Greeted by name and informed about my stay, check in took mere moments with all the information provided ahead of time. The hand sanitiser stations reminded me we’re in the new normal, but it wasn’t too obvious nor clinical.
There were some extra changes which seem to make so much sense, if I can call my husband via Siri or Alexa, then I can certainly use a voice activated lift to the tenth floor. Knowing the lift buttons will have been pressed numerous times by every single guest is enough to make me try and not just in times of crisis either.
Long corridors and never-ending hallways are often seen at the larger luxury hotels but finding your way through them can be something of a challenge. The added confusion of a new one-way system to encourage social distancing would surely mean we’d definitely never find our way to our rooms or back out to the pool. But find it we did! Without a panic or wrong step, we followed our feet, or rather, what was below our feet and followed the carpet. The richly designed flooring used directional patterns which helped us find our way with the quickest and safest route.
We didn’t want a sterile experience during our stay – it felt like a luxury hotel and not like a hospital. As we explored the hotel, we felt someone else had taken care of all the worrying, so we didn’t have to.