Understanding the layers of hospitality architecture

Know the latest trends and important factors in architectural design

Photo Credit : Project by Design 21,

Project by Design 21

Have you ever wondered how the Great Pyramids, constructed over 4,000 years ago, are still standing tall? Or how has Sanchi Stupa, one of the oldest buildings in India (commissioned by Emperor Ashoka in 3rd century BC) weathered many a storm during its existence. Well, the credit must go to the architects who, with their extraordinary expertise and amazing talent, have played an important role in our lives. To pay tribute to the industry, World Architecture Day is celebrated around the world on the first Monday of October. In 1985, the International Union of Architects created World Architect Day to “remind the world of its responsibility for the future of the human habitat.” 

BW HOTELIER talks to two architects to know the latest trends in hospitality design, points kept in consideration while designing a hotel project and more. While Nikita Bajaj Pathak is the Founder and Principal Architect at Design 21, a firm that aspires to combine the simple ingenuity of innovation and creation in all its projects, Khozema Chitalwala is the Principal Architect and Designer at Designers Group, a core hospitality firm with over two-and-a-half decades’ experience in interior architecture.Project by Designers Group

Latest trends in hospitality design 

Nikita Bajaj Pathak: As the travel and hospitality industries gradually rebound in recent times, keeping up with the latest design trends is more essential than ever. Now, hotels must look to not only differentiate themselves from the competition but attract customers in a safe and welcoming way, and everything is fair game. Many hotels try to create more inviting guest rooms that elicit the feeling of a “home away from home.” Millennials are expecting experiential spaces with eye-catching features or greenery that might inspire them to snap a photo to share. Local touches are popping out everywhere in hotel design. We have designed the Amayaa Hotel as an attempt to enhance the city’s skyline in several ways by truthfully reflecting on the heritage of Varanasi. Nikita Bajaj Pathak, Founder & Principal Architect, Design 21

Khozema Chitalwala: From people who have made travelling a part of their careers to those who travel for business and leisure, the density of globetrotters has considerably increased in the past few years. This massive shift in consumer preferences has led to numerous changes that the hospitality industry is ever incorporating. One of the most wise-spread trends is one of “Hometels” where the merit and desirability of a homely atmosphere are provided alongside premium comfort and novelty. Hotels are no longer just a place to stay but a node for social interaction. These days more engaging and occupying public and semi-private areas and activity-designated spaces are increasingly becoming a part of hotels and resorts. With awareness spreading like wildfire, sustainable living strategies are being adopted by one and all across the globe. Rooms with automation, motion sensors, air purification systems, high-quality finishing eco-materials and green plants in the interiors are some of the ways this trend is being addressed in hospitality spaces.

Factors kept in consideration while conceptualising and designing a hospitality project.  

Nikita Bajaj Pathak: Hotels have ceased to be considered one-dimensional places of stay but they have rather become places that offer an opportunity to inculcate culture, open new fields of knowledge, to feel, discover, relax, and even self-reflect through new experiences. Hospitality design ultimately ends up with a single goal of creating unique and memorable experiences for people. The context plays a crucial role in conceptualising such experiences. The lobby design that makes the first impression on guests shapes their overall image of the hotel. The guest room design should consider all the details where materials, colours, textures and lighting come together to create an integrated experience. And common areas substantially complete the customer experience in any hotel.

Khozema Chitalwala, Principal Architect & Designer, Designers Group

Khozema Chitalwala: Hotels create a seamless narrative that defines a “story”, evoking emotions in guests that make their visit memorable. They are no longer viewed as one-dimensional accommodation options but rather as destinations that allow guests to engage with the local culture, explore new spaces, perceive knowledge, unwind, and reflect on their own experiences. Design approaches have changed due to the new hotel construction philosophy. The hotel’s identity is shaped by its concept which also thoroughly examines the semantics of the visitor experience. One of the most crucial considerations in the study is the regional climate. They have a significant impact on the hotel’s outdoor landscape, how it interacts with the inside of the building, and the experience bestowed. Additionally, it is important to understand that guests will form their first impression of the hotel at the entrance, which can be the client’s first point of interaction with the space. The aesthetics of the entrance must be consistent with the hotel’s design concept and context. The hotel’s activity and socialisation areas shape the final image of the property, which completes the visitor experience. Every structure is created with an emphasis on the user and fulfilling both functional and aesthetical demands. To give guests a wholesome experience, the architect must conduct extensive research on the type of traveller the hotel will serve and how they will be treated inside the hotel.

Key differences while designing a hotel project for different categories – luxury, upper upscale, upscale, and budget… 

Nikita Bajaj Pathak: Hotels should cater to a range of visitors from families and businesses to tourists and travellers and offer personalised experiences for each category. Common areas and amenities should be categorised to cater to these varied audiences. Guest rooms can be designed for each economic class as suite rooms, deluxe and studio rooms. Providing personal experiences, while catering to the public is an exciting challenge in designing hospitality projects. 

Khozema Chitalwala: The idea behind hotel design is based on long-standing customs of hospitality to visitors, and different types of hotels have evolved throughout many cultures. One of the most crucial factors for a hotel is the overall appearance of the space. It should be eye-catching, reflect the local architecture, and have a distinct personality that matches the services offered by the hotel. Moreover, it should be designed in such a way that it is both functional and visually appealing.


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