Hotels in the Middle East have long had a reputation of providing the highest quality service for guests who seek the five-star luxury treatment. Now, when the region’s hospitality industry is faced with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, hotels are experiencing pressures like never before – the hospitality landscape has already begun experiencing exponential change, the flow-on effects of which are likely to be felt for some time. Factoring in new guidelines and regulations such as social distancing, we, as agents of change, are now tasked with looking at how the fundamentals of hotel design will need to evolve to meet these practical measures while still being able to provide travelers with the luxury experience they seek.
The impact on hotels during COVID
What typically sets apart world-class hospitality is the influence of design within the property, the technological innovations that enhance the guest experience, and the service provided by the staff. These factors have been compromised by the pandemic and it is the architect and designer’s role to study this and overcome it with strategies that reprioritize space and create memorable experiences, which both protect the health and safety of the guests and deliver a commercial return for owners and operators.
With social distancing being a ‘new normal’, there are many trends influencing the industry that need to be incorporated but without conceding the feeling of comfort and luxury. Guests will still want to travel but will seek a private, more isolated experience and may prefer more a sense of privacy in the hotel, safely distanced with a private pool and a controlled-capacity clubhouse within a resort environment for example.
How will hotel rooms change?
Hotel rooms have in recent years been designed to be more compact as the hotel’s social and common areas were considered to be where a guest would most likely spend more time. A room was a place to take a shower, watch TV, and sleep. Now, it is a sanctuary with luxurious linens and comfortable furnishings but...