Independent Hotel Show: Peeking into the future of hotel design

    Hamish Kilburn
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    With the Independent Hotel Show around the corner, Hotel Designs took a sneak peek of one of the most anticipated unveilings of this year’s show. The hotel room of the future, conceived by Two’s Company Interior Design Ltd., has been designed around the concept that anything is possible…

    Looking ahead to new possibilities, the founders of Two’s Company, Nick Sunderland and the President of the BIID* Gilly Craft have combined thoughts to design what they believe could very well be the hotel room of the future. With hidden technology and a ‘WOW’ bathroom, the conceptional representation will be unveiled on The Future stand at the Independent Hotel Show on October 16 – 17 at London’s Olympia.

    The room will have a lounge area, bedroom and bathroom with all three spaces interconnected with clever tech elements throughout for a seamless, stress-free stay. Guests will be surrounded by intuitive design, multi-channel connectivity, sensor-led sleep support and in-room systems. From checking in to their sumptuous super- luxe room using thumb recognition or their phone, to being able to order room service via simple touch pads, or buy any item they like in the room with a quick tap on a nearby screen, the features bring to life what the future could look like in hotel design.

    “Creating a room with 21st century technology, luxury, comfort and outstanding service for the guest are the challenges of today’s hotelier,” says Sunderland. “Research shows that technology is important on both sides but should not be invasive or difficult to use. It should be intelligent and responsive, integrated into the room. Seamless use of technology, in automatically updating housekeeping with individual requirements, for example, and a front of house that responds without intrusion or delay, is the aim. In addition, the guest requires comfort, elegance and style that is unique and individual.”

    Subtle tech in the guestroom

    Leading integrated technology experts Crestron and Smartcomm have developed the innovative features for the state-of-the-art hotel room. Expect no dials or knobs on walls, just discreet one-touch keypads for simple operations or the central touch screen to make bespoke adjustments for guests to control heating, lighting, air conditioning and much more.

    “The bed’s pre-settings include ‘zero gravity mode’ where the guest’s legs are raised above the level of the heart for improved circulation and to relieve pressure on the lower back.”

    The ultimate night’s sleep is a given with tech, scent and science incorporated into the design. The Simba bed has a six-axis motion base, amber lights in its footing that encourage the ‘alpha brainwave’ state preceding sleep, plus inbuilt lavender scent diffusers and air purifiers. The bed’s pre-settings include ‘zero gravity mode’ where the guest’s legs are raised above the level of the heart for improved circulation and to relieve pressure on the lower back. The integrated headboard by MRF incorporates two Corian side panels which feature wireless Corian Charging Surface technology that enables smart devices to be powered up directly through the table top.

    Entertainment within hotel rooms is ever evolving. IP TV content is now standard across global hotels delivering content based upon geographic location, plus other popular global channels. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is now the norm, so the Hotel Room of The Future is set up so that content can be displayed on the TV and audio system via two screens.

    A media wall built by Simon Waites from Waites Furniture faces the bed with a Samsung 49inch TV and Sonos bar linking to individual devices and enabling access to all services in the hotel with a single tap. The media wall reverse creates a private seating area and again houses a 49 inch Samsung TV and Sonos sound bar. A minibar, and safe from A3 Solutions and a Nespresso coffee system is hidden in the unit and a pull-out desk creates a flush system. Built into the side is another control panel accessing all room and hotel services. It overrides the TV to integrate the room with front of house and housekeeping and gives access direct to the concierge for any guest requests. The whole process linking services has been set up by Crestron and Smartcomm on three levels of programming. Luxe lighting by Heathfield in elegant brushed antique brass and satin black, is pre-programmed but can be adjusted by the guest.

    The whole concept for the technology within the room enables guests to have as little or as much interaction with the room as they wish. The aim is to create a calming, no-hassle room that a guest can feel right at home in and truly relax for the ultimate hotel experience with the most efficient yet discreet hotel service.

    The room tech could provide:

    • Welcome/Good morning with one touch to control lights, TV, audio
    • Good night – all media can be turned off, primed for next day – alarms set
    • Entertainment mode – dim lights, all audio off, curtain closed
    • Good bye – all off and primed for return
    • Or Standard mode as above with no requirement from the guest to make changes
    • Preference settings / pre-stored for regular guests, room profile already set up on check in
    • Turn down/ yes or no option, and also what time
    • Room health check and re-set within hidden menu
    • Check in / out via touch screen or iPad
    • Air con / heating control and scheduling for personal preferences
    • Beside controls, curtain control
    • Water temperature control, Smart glass control/ walk in bathroom glass dims
    • Television custom displays
    • Wall panel device same as guest iPad
    • Concierge contact, room service, do not disturb
    • Cleaning request service, over and above the standard cleaning schedule

    The smart hotel app from DL APP TAP

    A great opportunity for hoteliers to offer guests add-on experiences, the DL APP TAP (Design Life App) is a new concept. Guests often want to buy luxury interior products they see and use whilst staying at a hotel. This clever App will make that a possibility, with sales handled via the App.  By using near field communication (NFC) newly available to iOS devices, hotels can now brand their own App and start selling luxury items to their guests straight away. Guests can simply use their iPhone to tap the items they want and place them in their basket to checkout in-app or pay upon checking out. Plus, this App can be white labelled to the hotel’s own name and corporate identity.

    WOW factor bathroom

    The state-of-the-art bathroom with its Splinterworks Hammock bath and eco Axor Philippe Starck taps has its own subtle tech incorporated too for a totally luxe effect. A stylish, Switchable Privacy Glass panel from Smart Glass International can be adjusted by the guest from transparent to opaque in less than 0.01 seconds. They can appreciate the sheer beauty of the cool bathing area from their room, then switch to the privacy setting when they want to step in for a peaceful dip. The entire space is enhanced with translucent bathroom panels from CD UK- Corian®. Leading LED lighting technology specialists, ALL LED worked its magic by backlighting the panels to create a luminous glow throughout the space.

    With facilities it’s all about speed and efficiency; the quicker a room can be turned around the faster it can be occupied again. Management want and need to understand their guests more; what they’re doing whilst at the hotel, what they’re using and why, and, of course, what they’re spending their money on. With the use of this seamless, inspiring technology all these things can be achieved in hotel rooms of the future.

    Hotel Designs’ editor Hamish Kilburn will be moderating the panel discussion ‘Power Hour’ on October 17 at the Independent Hotel Show. In addition, Kilburn is currently working with tech genius and the former presenter of The Gadget Show, Jason Bradbury, in order future-gaze further into the hotel room of the future.

    * The BIID are industry sponsors of The Brit List 2018

    Hamish Kilburn / 09.10.2018


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