When I compare the hotels that stand out in my mind--hotels that after years of working in the industry stick with me as amazing, I realize that it is not just the inner experience that moves me. The architecture of a hotel, before I even step foot inside, sends a message. This week, I want to go away from my usual focus on interior design and focus on inspirational hotel architectural design.
1. The Roosevelt, Waldorf Astoria Hotel: New Orleans, Louisiana
Initially built in 1893, this hotel is a reminder of the lavish Spanish and French mansions that used to line these streets. The facade is reminiscent of an upscale theater with the balcony overlooking the street and throwback signage. When you enter, every column is detailed with gold embellishments. Every ceiling is outfitted with crown molding or giant elegant archways. Beautiful mosaic tiles coat the floor like a red carpet ushering in guests and celebrities alike. This classic architecture is the perfect space to make anyone feel like royalty.
When this hotel fell victim to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it was empty and abandoned for several years. It was such a treasure to be a part of its restoration. We watched old carpets being pulled away to reveal the astonishing and artistic floors; We watched each crystal get plucked from its chandelier, cleaned, and meticulously rewired. Of all the hotels we have worked with, the architecture of the Roosevelt sticks with us the most because of its ability to transcend history and time.
2. Holiday Inn Portland West: Hillsboro, Oregon
Located in Oregon's wine country, this hotel blends modern architectural design with a quaint hometown feel--It is inspiring because it's the perfect mix to fit the contemporary agricultural roots of the area and the rich history of the town.
The exterior is reminiscent of a country home. However, once you step inside, the hotel combines modern shapes and flat metal structures with organic materials. The brick walls replicate nearby wine cellars while the wide, geometrical doorways modernize the design--turning the lobby into a lounge and social space. Throughout the hotel, there is an open concept; the bar is an integral part of the rest of the lobby. A fireplace in the center of everything is the hearth warming the home. However, like much of the glass in the remainder of the hotel, it does not close up the space. You can sit anywhere and enjoy a fireside chat.
3. Doubletree by Hilton: Erbil, Iraq
We were lucky enough to have to opportunity to design the first and only Hilton property in Iraq. It was such a pleasure and honor to be a part of history in the making. However, we also remember being so excited to work with such impressive architecture.
The architecture inspires a modern, minimalist design with floor-to-ceiling windows, geometric shapes, and a monotone palette. The design style conveys the message of simplicity to create relaxation and luxury. It uses simple materials, repetitive patterns and open, clean space where the floors are not cluttered with unnecessary structures. This inspires the guests to imagine the opportunities the city provides. The unique combination of glass and wood create an interesting juxtaposition that makes the architecture the dramatic centerpiece of everything.
Today’s inspirational design is a culmination of the past trends and cultures; today’s technology is the building of future designs. We create classic shapes with modern conveniences and efficiencies, or modern shapes with ancient architectural visions. But to me, nothing is more inspiring than possibilities.