Lobby-ists Delight - New Hip Meeting Spots for Hotels Are On The Rise
By Andrew Freeman President, Andrew Freeman & Company | February 16, 2009
For A Good Time - Meet Me In The Lobby
What once served almost solely as a waiting place - a place to kill the time before check-in or after check-out, the hotel lobby is now becoming a destination in and of itself. Many of the greatest moments in film and literature have taken place in hotel lobbies ---| from the lazy summer days at The Plaza in The Great Gatsby, to The Graduate's Benjamin Braddock's realization that Mrs. Robinson was indeed trying to seduce him in the lobby of the Taft Hotel. And now great moments can happen again each and everyday, as lobbies are no longer just quiet waiting spots, they are becoming the "it" spots at the best hotels around the world.
Today's modern lobby has become a social center for the hotel; a place with real functionality that serves as a revenue source rather than existing as non- saleable space. Hotels have undertaken many approaches for the redesign of the lobby from the "living rooms" at the W hotels to "great rooms" being created by Marriott International. Many of these reinvigorated lobbies offer additional amenities to the guest and surrounding local community. A check-in desk and sofa are no longer enough; instead hotels are adding elements like restaurants, cocktail lounges, bars, baristas, retail stores and non-traditional gift shops.
Check In To Check Out
Multi-functional lobbies are particularly appealing to business travelers who may have work to do, but don't want to be alone in their rooms to do it. For this reason WiFi is becoming increasingly popular in all public spaces. For instance, Chicago's W Lakeshore offers an open area overlooking Lake Michigan, aptly named "The Living Room" where one can do everything from checking in for a stay, checking email for business or taking a break and checking out with a nice cocktail. It's also a see-and-be-seen- spot where when the sun goes down, the lights dim and it transforms into a lavish lounge with customized cocktails and a bar menu. It's a sexy spot serving both hotel guests as well as the locals, who find "The Living Room" to be a great place to congregate before a night on the town. Lobby living rooms such as this one, are highly designed with comfortable seating and tables in conversational cluster arrangements. Activities to generate buzz and excitement include evening wine tastings, fashion shows and art exhibits.
Fun or Functional ---| Great Rooms Are Really Great