Hotel rooms are changing to fit the needs of modern travellers, doing away with bathtubs and minibars, and installing more outlets.
Listening to Olaf Kitzig, the founder of an interior architecture company, you get the feeling that the hotel sector is feeling a bit conflicted. Humans haven’t really changed, he says. Sleeping, bathing and working are all things that one must always be able to do in a good hotel room, he says – on the one hand.
On the other, modern travellers are now roaming a world that is more mobile, changeable and networked than ever before. And this is something they now expect of their lodgings.
So while the fundamental demands made of a good hotel room remain the same – a cozy bed, a hot shower and enough electrical sockets – a lot of things have changed: Guests nowadays want a room that is geared in every regard to their needs – and not the other way around.
“The days of the standard room are over,” confirms the German Hotels Association. Hotel rooms must now have personality and character.
This can be achieved, for example, through the selection of colours, the trend now being towards the bright and friendly.
The materials used are a further example. Many hotels now are emphasising locally and regionally compatible materials. “Tropical wood is not meant for the Baltic Sea,” comments Kitzig.
Beyond this, many furnishings that had long been standard are now gradually vanishing from the world’s hotel rooms. Writing desks, for example. And telephones. Those who always have a smartphone or laptop at hand above all need adequate recharging possibilities and comfortable seating while they do their surfing or work.
Instead of a TV set with hundreds of channels, a docking station on the night table can do just as well, letting guests use their own devices to log onto programming suited to their individual tastes.
“Keep it simple” is the slogan of Peter Nistelberger, department chief at an information and events platform for the hotel and gastronomy sector in Oberschleissheim, just outside Munich in Germany.
What counts above all is comfort, a cozy and comfortable room where the guest can retreat to – “cocooning” is the marketing word for it.
One spot is especially in the guest’s focus: The bathroom. “The bathroom must be an area of well-being,” Nistelberger says. It must be a wellness oasis that is bright and pleasantly lit for them.
However, what is no longer absolutely required is a bathtub. One might ask: Wellness and relaxation, but no bathtub? To which Kitzig answers: “People have less and less time for a bath, and it’s just more stress.” Those who fear the prospect of no longer being able to take a long, relaxing bubble bath shouldn’t fret though – in five-star hotels, a bathtub is still standard.
Other facilities have meanwhile been transferred to public spaces – the minibar, for example. “There was once a lot of hype about the minibar,” Nistelberger says. Except for five-star establishments, many hotels now refrain from offering minibars, which are too expensive and labour-intensive to maintain. But to compensate, many hotels have expanded their food and beverage offerings in the lobby. – dpa/Julia Ruhnau