Reasons to listen to the latest episode of DESIGN POD on ‘lean luxury’

Other than hearing Editor Hamish Kilburn, host of DESIGN POD, and special guest Matthew Balon, Head of Design at Ruby Hotels, share a hilarious first-encounter anecdote, there are many reasons to listen in to the latest episode of the podcast all around the hotel design and hospitality concept of ‘lean luxury’…

DESIGN POD Lean Luxury

‘Lean luxury’. What does that even mean? Well, we are not talking about removing the bed frame, or doing away with decent lighting. In fact, lean luxury, as defined by Matthew Balon, Head of Design at Ruby Hotels, is about offering something meaningful, such as “a great bed, a great shower and a great bar.” The interior designer, who was this week’s special guest on DESIGN POD explains in the episode how these edits reflect on the guest experience. “By leaving off some of the other services, it also allows us to cut costs,” he says, “we are able to pass on those services to the guests, which means that we are able to offer a high level of the services we do offer.”

In addition to what happens sheltered under the roof of the hotel, for Balon and the team at Ruby Hotels, location is key. “For ruby, it is really important to have a great location in the city, which is vital because we don’t offer dine-in restaurants,” Balon adds. “We want our guests to walk onto the street from the hotel and to be ‘in the neighbourhood’.”

By implementing such a defined design and hospitality concept, there is the risk of spaces feeling clinical. To combat this, the hotel brand evolves creating hotels within historic buildings. This is where Balon and his team come into their own. “We will accept a lot of strange layouts that other brands may stay clear of – we have had round and even triangluar room layouts,” he says. “When it comes to designing and adding new elements that are driven by the story we are telling in each location, a lot of this happens in the public areas, and it is a lot of fun to dive in there and hit it hard with those elements.”

With a lean organisational structure and concentration on the essentials, Ruby Hotels, succeeds in creating a contemporary, affordable form of luxury for modern, cost and style-conscious customers. Founded in 2013, the Group already operates thirteen Ruby hotels, with a further 22 hotels under construction or in the planning phase. Ruby is expanding into Asia with the joint venture Ruby Asia, founded in 2018. Ruby also offers Ruby Workspaces in Munich, Hamburg and Dusseldorf.

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels