Hotel design and the neighbourhood story…

At Dexter Moren Associates we believe that everywhere is an idea.

We have no fixed house style. Instead, we create a bespoke response to each project. While our approach is necessarily guided by a range of factors – from client requirements to practical constraints – one of the most important influences is the neighbourhood context.

For many years international hotel companies followed the premise of a singular repetitive international product where a specific brand bedroom in Barcelona was exactly that in Beijing, Bermuda or Benin.This is changing as customers, particularly those from the ‘millennial’ generation, look for a more authentic experience grounded in the local neighbourhood. Hotel architecture and interior design can play an important role in responding to this demand.

The DMA designed Hilton London Bankside, is a great example of how big global brands are pushing the boundaries of traditional design. The closest 5 star hotel to the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe, this entirely new build 292 key hotel sits in a rapidly gentrifying district of London. Providing the Hilton ethos of quality and service, this hotel design reflects its locale rather than international brand expectations, with contemporary use of metal, wood, tiles and concrete.

The drive for the ‘local’ experience goes deeper than just the design ethos. Hotels have the ability to functionally integrate into the community by way of the public facilities provided; recreation, restaurant & even retail. Inherent in the theme is the concept of transforming the hotel lobby from waiting room to welcoming place, where people might arrive, depart, meet, work and chat, with the lobby becoming simultaneously cafe, bar, shop, a genuine public place that drives hotel revenue. Our design for Kensington Quarter, within the Hotel Indigo in South Kensington, demonstrates the fusion of hotel F&B with neighbourhood retail. In this award-winning café, bar, restaurant, the food offer doubles as a local deli, providing fresh bread, wine and local artisan produce to local residents.

As the world becomes ever-smaller it is likely that well-travelled customers will continue to drive demand for hotels offering them a unique experience, with an authentic connection to the locale. We think this can only be a good thing, for customers of course, but also for all those involved in hotel architecture and interior design and particularly for hoteliers looking for new revenue sources.