Kaleidoscopic hospitality goes in search of design
Design everywhere, with things once hidden away, like the minibar, now put proudly on display: hospitality wants to look its best and pamper guests also through aesthetics. Especially at the higher end of the market. But, in an ever more competitive market, it also has to take profitability into account. Hence the proliferation of new services aimed at making the stay an unforgettable experience.
“Increasingly, the minibar, for example, has gone from being a necessary evil to an opportunity to indulge guests, attract their attention and encourage consumption,” says Marco Buoso, head of hospitality with Indel B. “So it is being designed to look more attractive and is being placed on display. Our wall-mounted minibars respond to two, or rather three requirements. The rationalisation of space, at a time when rooms are ending to get smaller to increase productivity, aesthetics, and the chance to pamper guests wherever they are, even in the spa: a chocolate or a glass of champagne.”
So the minibar is coming out of hiding and is also serving a new purpose: “No longer a container of overpriced products but a place where guests are given a little free treat, a portion of a local speciality, maybe, or some other exclusive item. To get them to try and learn to like something new, and then maybe buy it before leaving.” The fact is that hotels are turning more and more into places that offer an all-round experience, pampering guests and offering things for purchase.
“Wine stores are more and more in demand too. And there is a growing need for free space in which to store food and drink purchases either in or outside the hotel.”
A multifunctional vocation that now involves the entire HoReCa sector, including catering, with places to be used and enjoyed all day long. Adding a touch of luxury.
“You have to offer products that are extremely contemporary and functional, but at the same time have a sophisticated, elegant style, capable of interacting and designed for spaces used by the public at different moments during the day,” says Monica Pedrali, CEO and sales & marketing director of Pedrali. “Whether it’s a restaurant, a café or a hotel, these elements also have to look good in historic buildings, perfectly in keeping with the traditional atmosphere. So you have to use different materials, including luxury ones (upholstery, quality wood), to create products that are comfortable and cutting edge, satisfying the demands of the world today.”
Two examples of this are that three-star Niko Romito in Rome, which is full of references to traditional furniture and designs, alongside old-fashioned finishes that have been restored, with adjoining rooms that have different purposes and atmospheres: the bread and coffee area, which is a fast-moving, informal place, and the restaurant, which is more intimate and comfortable, with a kitchen open to view. Greenery can also be usefully included: a pergola can turn a space into a winter garden, for example. Light helps to establish the atmosphere at different times of the day. Another good example is the former train station of Paratico-Sarnico, a place with an old-world feel that has been updated with a new concept offering three services: a flower boutique, a café and la Caffetteria and a Confectioner’s.