In the past few years, the hotel lobby has evolved from a place where guests simply check in to a place where guests work, socialize, and interact. With this forward-thinking and flexible concept comes a wide range of innovative design styles, and Westin Hotels & Resorts recently introduced a new public space design that refreshes the lobby with vertical gardens, a restructured space, and a convenient grab-and-go food and retail space.
"Our new lobby experience was designed to provide an inviting, uplifting space for our guests," says Brian Povinelli, global brand leader for Westin Hotels. "We definitely think this new concept sets our brand apart from other hotels as it truly embraces our core philosophy of ensuring our guests leave feeling better than when they arrived."
One of the main focuses of the new Westin design is incorporating vertical gardens into the hotel lobby. The brand's in-house design team, led by Erin Hoover, vice president of design, was inspired by research conducted by NASA scientists who discovered that growing plants indoors relieves stress and helps clean the air. By incorporating plants into the lobby design, Westin hopes to provide guests with a calming, welcoming area that will help stimulate their senses and elevate their moods.
"From a design perspective, Westin is inspired by natural elements with neutral color palettes, natural woods, and stone," Povinelli says. "Introducing a vertical garden into our signature lobby experience is a perfect fit for the brand."
To create these living walls, Westin teamed up with landscaping provider Ambius. Experts from the company work with the design team and each individual property to determine which plants are best suited for the lobby space. Aspects such as natural light and the location's natural climate are taken into consideration when coming up with a design for the plant life.
Another major part of the redesigned Westin lobby concept is The Dock, a central hub that features power outlets, integrated lighting, and access to computers and printers. This area allows for impromptu meetings for business travelers or easy access to information and device-charging capabilities for other types of guests. Seating zones have also been created within the new lobby concept with side tables that contain built-in power panels for convenience and accessibility. Seating in the space is also flexible, and can be moved and changed to accommodate a variety of functions and events.
"The design is meant to evoke a sense of productivity and balance," Povinelli says. "The lobby is an integral part of the hotel experience. It is the first space our guests see when they arrive and sets the tone for their entire stay."
Adjacent to the new seating zone, Westin will debut its Grab & Go Cafe concept. This on-the-go food and beverage outlet will vary at each property and can range from an enclosed cafe setting in the morning to a lobby bar in the evening for different types of experiences throughout the day. A retail store, featuring Westin products, including the brand's bedding and fragrance collections, is also part of the new space concept.
The reinvented design is currently on display at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego and will roll out in other participating properties around the world throughout 2013. Five additional hotels are slated to feature the new concept this year, including Westin Indianapolis, Westin Boston Waterfront, Westin Birmingham, Westin Georgetown, and Westin Bethesda.
"Well-being is the filter through which Westin approaches design, retail, food and beverage, and other aspects of the guest experience," Povinelli says. "Our goal is for our hotels to provide travelers with a modern-day oasis on the road, and our new lobby design is a strong reflection of this."
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