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Hotel room layouts: How to design the perfect room

  Posted in Resources

Succeeding as a modern hotel business begins with how guests perceive your product: room layout is a central part of their experience, and it’s a factor you have the ability to proactively influence.

Whether you are adhering to brand standards or enjoying the freedom of independence, the impact of your one-time decision-making here is amplified by how your customers share their travel experience via reviews and on social media, again and again. Small details can translate into powerful cornerstones of your online presence, either by creating buzz by placing a bathtub in an unusual spot or in the best-case scenario attracting more of the right type of customer for your hotel. All without you doing any additional work.

To help guide you, this blog details a few ways you can approach your hotel room layout and provides helpful design tips. Whether you are re-designing or building from the ground up, read on for inspiration to create your original footprint and the best hotel room design.

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Hotel room layouts: Basic requirements

A good night’s sleep is arguably the key component of a hotel stay but, for good reasons, requirements for great hotel room design go beyond providing a comfortable bed. These come from a variety of sources: your travellers’ expectations, your brand’s goals, and state or country-level rules and regulations.

All of these can be considered the basic requirements that influence hotel room layout. To get started without getting lost, answer the following three questions:

What areas are you creating in a room?

Most commonly there is a sleeping space, a workspace or area to be productive when necessary, and a bathroom. If you are designing a facility for long stays, your requirements may be different and include a space to cook and eat.

How will these areas be used?

Moving through a hotel room should feel intuitive. Upon entering a room, most of us automatically scan for key elements, which in turn generates our response. As guests transition between areas, there should be ease and space for all occupants to move smoothly. On cruise ships, this sometimes means an extra foot of space to navigate around fold-down beds to get to a balcony. In your hotel room, this may mean enough nightstand space for two or more.

However, when planning how a room is used, it also includes accounting for maximum occupancy, interconnectedness, and accessibility. This part of the planning process has to consider the question from a revenue-generating standpoint and includes planning for different room types. Supply and demand in the market should influence what room types are offered. The final result, in the form of hotel room types supplied to your PMS system, influences what your team gets to sell and upsell.

What are the legal, brand, or other requirements?

Depending on a hotel’s location and its affiliation with a brand or collection, there will be specific requirements in place. Many of these pertain to general safety. Depending on your target customer, it can be beneficial to explore corporate travel requirements of companies that supply business travel in your area. Large corporations include specific questions in their RFPs on, for example, safety. If attracting their business is key to your success, it is helpful to be familiar with their needs before making layout or design decisions.

Once your answers to the above questions are clear, your ideas and solutions will take shape and you begin to solve for your specific type of customer.

This is when it is time to advance to the next level, creating separation between spaces in a room while also optimising flow for interaction with the space. For example, a mix of weekday-business-travellers and weekend-family-stays may translate into more flexible design elements. A hotel room floor plan starts to resemble more than walls and doors, as the paths of the guests who will walk the halls become visible.

If you are part of a larger brand organisation, this is a good time to review their resources, including preferred suppliers and furniture options. Deciding between two or more options is easier once you are clear on your goals and specific requirements.

Hotel room layout examples to get started with

Whether you are planning for construction of a new property, converting from office space into hotel rooms, or simply renovating your existing rooms, there may be a number of factors that influence your layout; such as whether you’re dealing with uniform shapes or more quirky spaces.

Interestingly even between luxury hotel room designs and economy-type floor plans, there are similarities when looking beyond the square footage.

Here are three traditional examples of hotel room layouts to get you started:

1. Standard Double/Queen/King room

Frequently designed in a rectangular space, with only the bathroom as a separate space with a door. The separation between the sleep and work area is often achieved through the positioning of desks with views and the use of headboards or materials that contrast the rest of the room. Depending on the square footage, the use of armchairs or a sofa adds an element of relaxation or flexibility in occupancy.

2. Premium or Superior room

Traditionally these rooms utilise a layout very similar to your standard room but incorporate distinguishing features such as:

  • Additional square footage
  • Access to premium spaces such as balconies, views, or luxury appliances, such as bathtubs with jets
  • Additional or larger beds

Based on what is possible within the overall floorplan of the property, this presents an opportunity to create premium space you can upsell pre-arrival or at check-in. Knowing your market and customer helps in selecting room elements that resonate with your target audience.

3. One or more bedroom suites

Guests booking rooms with separate bedrooms expect clear separation between their sleeping space and the area where they may choose to work, relax, be together as a family or have a business meeting. This means a bedroom door is expected. Suites with separate bedrooms often add the versatility of having a kitchen space, either in a separate room or designated area.

Based on the type of customer you most likely will attract, you can design the space around their needs: quietly shutting doors and black-out curtains for families, or an additional small bathroom for guests who may have business visitors. These features go a long way in anticipating needs and breathing life into new hotel room design ideas.

3 creative hotel room design ideas

Multi-functional design elements

Once you move from a layout to a design, your options increase. Multi-functional elements provide a chance to personalise a guest’s space: this is a theme that Motto by Hilton embraced in creating flexible spaces that connect up to three rooms.

Structural elements like this take foresight at the right time. However, handing over autonomy to your traveller in how they utilise their space during their stay can be achieved in other ways, too. Design elements to consider are small ottomans that provide additional seating in rooms with potential additional occupancy; swivel desks creating open space or a choice of view; or kitchenette areas with raised seating as an additional workspace option.

Optimising small spaces

Hotel companies large and small are working on optimising small spaces: Marriott are working on further pushing those designs to provide more functionality in smaller spaces. In your property, maximising small spaces can be done through simple features such as fold-down desks, stacking side tables, open wall hanging solutions instead of wardrobes, and sliding doors.

Versatility is key when maximising what is already there. Rewiring an entire property to provide more power outlets closer to the bed quickly becomes unnecessary when turning to versatile design elements: for example, a nightstand lamp that uses one power outlet but provides four USB charging outlets. Mirrors and light color palettes are other efficient ways of creating space visually.

Creating a local connection

A growing trend in hotels and interior design is blurring indoor-outdoor boundaries. This is often achieved through working with and enhancing magnificent views. However, great views are not required from your hotel rooms to offer your guests a connection with their surroundings. Consider incorporating visuals of local sights to elevate the experience, such as the Super 8 headboard canvases that showcase local attractions. These are easily and frequently shared on social media while improving online footprint alongside the traveller’s experience.

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