Miniview: Mercure London Bridge

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    An hotel lobby is prime real estate and a multi-functional space. At various times it can be full of guests arriving or departing with their luggage (a coach party of Italian opera fans has to be seen to believe how much disruption can be caused). It can be busy with ‘meetettes’ as the space and its free wifi are used by itinerant business travellers and their colleagues. Later in the evening perhaps elegant tuxedo clad men and their fashion icon wives will wait there for a cab to take them to an event. It can be an arena in which children pushed out of rooms by exasperated parents can create chaos. It can be a waiting zone, a parking zone or become the playing field.Marriott tried to make it an inhabited zone 24/7 at the Courtyard but failed to carry the vision through – corporate inertia perhaps or just the caution that management of large companies show, always looking up over their shoulder. Smaller, Citizen M trumpet their Canteen with staff as ‘ambassadors’ and other more nimble companies than Marriott play their version of the lobby games. Accor’s French competitor Louvre group implemented it in the new model Campanile, and now Accor are trumpeting their new model Mercure, which the groups says “breaks the traditional codes of midscale hotels”. I wonder if Accor have read Mein Erster Blog Auf Deutsch and pondered whether the model they are adopting is right for the conservative segment Mercure has traditionally occupied?

    Mercure say their new model vision answers new guest expectations in this sector. The GM of the Mercure London Bridge more sensibly says it puts the hosting of the guest back at the centre of hospitality. It certainly in design terms helps make a smallish space look larger, and by zoning through furniture and design creates more flexibility for management and guest alike.

    Mercure is opening an hotel a week at the moment and has a target of 1,000 hotels in 5 years, currently operating 732 in 50 countries. The company added over 15,000 new room in 2011/12, and accounted for 21% of new rooms opened by Accor in 2012, 75% through franchise and management agreements.

    Continued on page two

    Daniel Fountain / 05.07.2013

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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