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2021

Image of blue and yellow modern room with close up of USB port

Part 53: Specifying USB charging sockets

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 53:
SPECIFYING USB CHARGING SOCKETS

Relax and recharge, as we speak with Hamilton Litestat’s Sales and Marketing Director, Gavin Williams, on how changing EU regulations will increase reliance on USB charging sockets, and why more than one type of USB port is needed to support devices and futureproof a hotel’s charging capabilities…

Today, ensuring your guests have access to the right electrical wiring solutions to recharge their devices is as important as them having a restful stay. Whether they are relaxing by watching a film on a tablet, or replying to important emails while on a business trip, those devices need to be powered appropriately.

Until now, block plug-in USB chargers have come as standard with battery-powered devices. In a move to reduce electrical waste and the impact this has on the environment, the European Union is looking to stop manufacturers from providing these with every device and move towards a standard USB-type charging connector. One of the first brands to make this change is Apple, which isn’t providing a charging unit with the iPhone 12. An increased demand for USB charging ports is an anticipated fallout from this. But not all USB connectors were created equal.

USB-A vs USB-C

The USB connector we’re probably most familiar with and is used in laptops and remote storage devices is the USB Type A, or USB-A. This has a reasonably large physical connector and offers charging of up to 2.5W. However, a new standard that enables significantly faster charging is on the horizon – the USB Type C, or USB-C. USB-C is physically much smaller and, more importantly, facilitates extremely fast data transfer of up to 10 Gbps and power transfer of 100W for rapid charging.

Unlike the early days of mobile phones where each brand had its own unique charging cable, USB-C is set to become standard across new devices. More than 700 technology companies, including Apple, Dell, Google, HP, Intel, Microsoft, and Samsung, have done away with the charging block and adopted the USB-C standard for upcoming products. Demand for USB-C charging ports is set to soar.

Image of luxury clean room with a usb charging socket close up

Image credit: Jonathan Borba/Hamilton Litestat

Charging ahead

Hotels looking to support all visitors and their varied power requirements will need to provide charging options for both legacy devices and the new standard.

Hamilton is supporting the industry with combined double switched 2.4A USB sockets that feature both USB-A and USB-C charging ports. Available in four stylish and versatile plate designs – Hartland, Hartland G2, Hartland CFX and Sheer CFX – and up to eleven finishes, these solutions deliver functionality of the future while ensuring interior style and design aspirations are achieved.

Double switched USB sockets sit perfectly either side of the bed in a guestroom for convenience and style. And with Hamilton offering a vast range of flexible solutions in those plate designs, lighting and other functionality can be delivered with coordinated plates throughout the guestroom.

Since you’re here, why not read Hamilton Litestat’s recent case study, featuring Hotel Indigo Bath?

Power up!

However, faster charging needs more power more rapidly and there are still restrictions on the charging capability from a 13A socket. To deliver the higher rate of charge for high-capacity devices, such as the new MacBook Pro or iPad Pro, a Euro Module is required. Hamilton has recently launched a 45W Type C / 18W Type A Euro Module that is designed to deliver additional power, ensuring power-thirsty devices can charge at full capacity, ensuring guests will never run out of power.

The Euro Module works particularly well in bespoke plates, designed to meet the requirements of the international traveller. Often positioned alongside desk/dressing table areas, guests have everything they need to work, relax, and recharge.

For hotels looking to support their guests in the long term, Hamilton’s USB charging products provide stylish transitional solutions. Supporting legacy devices, along with providing the power needed of the latest high-capacity devices, all guests will be able to both work, relax and recharge without any worries.

Hamilton Litestat was a Session Sponsor at Hotel Designs LIVE in February 2021, and is also a loyal Recommended Supplier. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: Edelle Bruton/Hamilton Litestat

Part 52: Spa design in the new era of wellness

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 52:
SPA DESIGN IN THE NEW ERA OF WELLNESS

In the next decade, spa design will seamlessly blend wellness, technology and touch to enhance the guest journey, future-proofing the business for years to come, as Sparcstudio explains…

The future of spa and wellness design remains positive. Out of crisis comes innovation and we have witnessed this in 2020 in the way that many spas have pivoted their business in response to the changing rules and regulations set out of governments around the world. During the year we have considered the impact of the pandemic for spa and wellness design and believe that spas of the future will have to be mindful of personal space for each guest, designing the wellness space to maximise comfort while embracing nature – connecting the inside with the natural world outside.

Sparcstudio has identified a number of design trends for hotel investors and spa operators to be aware of when planning their next project.

Spa in nature

Post-Covid I believe there will be an even greater emphasis on outdoor spa-ing and a link to nature. Guests will want to escape hermetically sealed artificial environments and will  embrace the outside. Natural pools and Spa gardens will be even more key such as the ones we helped to create at South Lodge Spa.

A spa garden doesn’t have to include expensive hydro pools and heat cabins. Maximise the use of any outdoor space as part of your spa experience. Be it a garden, courtyard or roof terrace or just a view through an open window. Outdoor sensory experiences could include individual relax zones dotted around an aromatic herb garden, daybeds arranged around a firepit sprinkled with cedar chips, or playful swinging seats alongside a beautiful trickling water feature.

Personalised and Individual spaces

Personalised spaces within large spa communal relaxation spaces will give way to smaller more intimate couples spaces spread throughout the journey. Expect to see pod changing rooms and spaces where guests can enjoy shared treatment experiences for two people or a small private group.

A glass door into a spa

Image credit: Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House

Free to roam areas such as pools and thermal suites and relaxation spaces will need to rely more on signage and other methods to inform about levels of usage. The new added transparency in thermal suite design is a great benefit in that guests can check via glass enclosures as to how busy a heat cabin is prior to entering. Where rooms are dark or enclosed it is possible to incorporate an electronic screen to the exterior of the room such as the one that was designed for the Meditation room at Sopwell Cottonmill Spa. The small screen communicates via sensors to indicate which of the beds are occupied. This has the added benefit of minimising disturbance of guests already in a room by opening the door to check to see if a bed is available.

A luxury pool and seating area

Image credit; Dormy House

Health is the new wealth

We think there will be a further blurring of the lines between wellness, spa and fitness offers and that there will be even more demand for these facilities post-Covid as we seek to be healthier in mind and body. We anticipate there being a move away from the concept of a ‘spa’ as a once in while treat, and that there could be an increase in the spa as a Private Members Club similar to the model that can be experienced at the Club at Cottonmill Sopwell House Hotel, where spa becomes as regular a  isit  as the traditional gym and incorporates yoga spin and fitness facilities.

Led by technology

Intelligent use of technology will be adapted to create safe spaces for guests – self-cleaning rooms, UV robots, anti-viral fogging, ‘Star Trek’ type sensor opening doors, and RFID Touch Technology for opening lockers and to pay for services for example. We don’t think this will translate into clinical sensory deprived environments – but tech should enable and facilitate in a discreet way. For example, Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House has digital screens to indicate available space within the Relax Room.

The importance of clean air in spas will see the introduction of mechanical ventilation and air conditioning antivirus treatment systems. These will become commonplace as will the opportunity to naturally heat and ventilate spaces. Expect to see an explosion in the utilisation of outdoor space in spas where spa and wellness experiences in the fresh air will prove popular with guests.

Since you’re here, why not read our 5-minutes-with interview with Beverley Bayes, Director of Sparcstudio?

New build properties will rely on naturally antiseptic materials such as copper and include homogenous and large-scale floor and wall finishes which reduce grout and are easier to clean.

With all technological advances and design developments, spa designers must always consider how to integrate the human experience into a guest journey – perhaps drawing on the ‘barefoot luxury’ style we designed at the Spa at South Lodge design, this ideal must always maintain priority, so that it is elegant, beautiful, functional and people friendly.

Sparcstudio is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image caption: Sparcstudio