In Portland, we are known for our one-of-a-kind bridges, unique parks, microbreweries, and specialty small-batch coffees. As tourism develops, our hotels are also turning toward the “small batch” experiences. With limited numbers of guest rooms, they are ditching the bulk furniture purchases to design more intimate spaces. Boutique hotels defy the traditional design and style of big chains with the artistic visions of their owners. Our job is to realize these ideas into architectural and visual masterpieces.
While every boutique hotel is as unique as the individuals who own it, we’ve noticed a few trends over the last few months that we would like to share with you. We hope these trends inspire you.
Boutique hotels are no longer limited to cool-toned metals like nickel and stainless steel. With riskier taste, designers are using warmer metal finishes like gold, bronze, and copper along with burnished metals, black steel, and matte finishes. These metals bring warmth and dimension to the space and create a variety of new texture and color opportunities. Additionally, mixing metal finishes rather than matching every metal surface in a room adds interest and authenticity to the space.
Pops of color and texture
Rather than focusing on neutral and inoffensive spaces, utilizing a color like lime green (one of our favorite colors), a large pattern, or a unique piece of art or furniture can add dimension and interest to a space without overpowering it. These sharp details make the space feel more alive and provide the excitement and stimulation of a new design experience that the guest would not have at home. Small differences in each room, such as different artwork and accent pieces, and a varied color palette bring vitality to the hotel as a whole and offers each guest an experience which is memorably distinct to that individual.
Especially in Oregon (although nation-wide), hotel guests are increasingly concerned with “green” and environmentally friendly hotel products and spaces. Environmentalism can be incorporated into the design and aesthetic of the hotel itself and is not limited to “green” personal care products and recycling bins. By using green design principles, like using post-consumer made products and locally sourced materials, boutique hotels demonstrate a global consciousness. This is perhaps our favorite trends since it aligns with our core design approach.
Communal spaces are a major advantage hotels have over competition like Airbnb. Hotels can provide a variety of opportunities for functional spaces, like office and fitness areas, and social spaces, like the lobby and hotel bar. Some boutique hotels are designing recreation rooms and co-working spaces in addition to the standard community spaces. These areas bring guests out of their rooms to experience more of the hotel and develop a community. When traveling, guests do not need to feel alone.
These design trends work together to create an invigorating “home away from home” for hotel guests who want a hospitality experience that recognizes their individuality and gives them the freedom to direct their own experience. Guests want to find personal touches that both remind them of the comforts of home but excite them with the luxury of a getaway. Boutique hotels have to opportunity to create that in a way large chains never could.