The Perfect Hotel

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In the last issue, we explored how and why perceptions of perfection vary for THE BUSINESSPERSON and the PARENT, and what designers need to consider when designing a personalised guest experience for these characters. This time, we turn our focus on THE TECH JUNKIE and THE HOPELESS ROMANTIC.



For the tech junkie, it is all about control and connectivity. Many hotels have already started to move towards the ‘smart’ room. Everything is about the guest’s experience and choice; offering them the environment and opportunities to create their own personalised stay. The smartphone/device, already at the heart of modern life, will become more so in the hotel environment, capable of remote checking in, becoming your room key, controlling lighting, temperature, blinds, room service, offering local guides, operating TV and sound systems and streaming content to your bathroom mirror. Also, remember the tech junkie loves all the latest devices, but these need not be limited to tech, so impress them with innovative furniture and layouts and don’t forget they also want the same as everyone else: comfort, ease, and plenty of power points!
Nick Wills, Founder of BusbyWebb

Everyone is a tech junkie. You can find them everywhere, and hotels should be prepared for them. We think the best technology is the tech you don’t see – you just realise it’s there in the precise moment when you need it. It’s key to be able to use the hotel’s content in terms of music and films but also crucial to offer the right platform to stream your own content from a physical device or from the cloud. Connectivity everywhere is crucial.
Jaime Oliver, Director of OHLAB / oliver hernaiz architecture lab

Business or pleasure, nobody’s got the time to check settings, set things up or mess around with wires. Just make it work. Instant connectivity, no logins, and no failures. Power is attractive, so socket-to-me, for my iPad; iPhone; battery back-up; laptop – but don’t give me an electrical socket, give me USB. And even better, wireless charging is here, get into it. Let me control the light, but make it simple; lamps by the bed, separately to the ones in the hall. Give me Wi-Fi and make it free and make it FAST. I don’t have time to write out code to get on it, just connect me.
Julia Feix, Director of Feix&Merlin Architects

A tech junkie’s room must have smart lights with pre-sets dependent on the type of tech junkie living in the space. The sound system can be controlled via personal smartphone, or the Sonos app. Alexa or an alternative voice-controlled device with an area guide and a chat bot – which would answer all the common questions, order room service, set an alarm and so on – is also a must and allows the tech-savvy guest to control all technology within the room (smart lights, Spotify, Bluetooth, noise cancelling headphones, gaming devices, on demand).
Përparim Rama, CEO of 4M Group


The moment you open the door to your room can set the tone for your romantic getaway. The room should smell naturally fresh, not sprayed with room fresheners. Cleanliness is next to godliness – one tiny hair and its game over for me. There’s nothing better than a cute French door onto an even cuter Juliette balcony with just enough room for two people to stand side by side for that first hug.
Tarek Merlin, Director of Feix&Merlin Architects

People travel to escape reality. A hotel can be a lot more than a comfortable place to sleep, bathe, eat and work. With the right atmosphere and visual cues, bolstered by excellent service, walking in can be like crossing the threshold into another time, place or universe. This kind of experience is perfect for the hopeless romantic, whether traveling with a lover or simply for a solo escape.
Adam Greco, Head U.S. Designer at Soho House Group

For the romantic kind – imagine a swift arrival. The ability to pre-check-in, no waiting around in the reception area. You have the immediate ability to walk straight into your love den.
Your favourite music plays. A large bouquet of roses and bottle of champagne rests beside a bathtub filled with bubbly water. Windows frame scenic vistas of the river, or skyline, or landscape, depending where you are. Wherever it is, the views are breathtaking. The bed is royal, plush, and surrounded with silk pillows. The lighting system creates an atmosphere in tune with the sounds of your playlist. Look up, there is a large mirrored ceiling right above your bed.
Përparim Rama, CEO of 4M Group

It goes without saying that the service and environment need to be of the highest quality and there are clearly a number of prerequisites that are an absolute must – like a fabulously comfortable bed, the best linen sheets, the most amazing shower. Beyond this, in my opinion, it is very much each to their own. The idea of telling the hotel what you ‘personally’ would like and them then curating this experience and importantly delivering beyond one’s expectations would be the best setting for a romantic liaison.
Jane Lawrence, Design Consultant and Head of Interiors for Knight Dragon Developments Ltd

A romantic experience is all about creating the right atmosphere at every single moment of the day. The power of maximising pleasure by engaging each of the five senses should not be underestimated; textures, scents, lighting, sounds and flavours are all important and need to be kept at the forefront of the designer’s mind throughout the process. I think the hotel design should also be connected to its unique site, in each location, to find an authenticity that is specific to its context.
Jaime Oliver, Director of OHLAB / oliver hernaiz architecture lab