BIG ON EX­PE­RI­ENCE

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Commercial Interior Design - - Industry Focus -

fiHAT ARE THE BIG­GEST FAC­TORS IN­FLU­ENC­ING BATH­ROOM DE­SIGN IN HO­TELS IN THE mID­DLE eAST?

GER­ARD GLINT­MEIJER (GG): iN RE­CENT YEARS, WE HAVE WIT­NESSED TWO MA­JOR FAC­TORS SHAP­ING BATH­ROOM DE­SIGN IN HO­TELS WORLD­WIDE, AND IN THE mID­DLE eAST AS WELL. bOTH TH­ESE FAC­TORS ARE BASED ON CHANG­ING LIFE­STYLES AND GUEST EX­PEC­TA­TIONS FOL­LOW­ING THAT CHANGE. iN THE PAST, PEO­PLE STAYED AT HO­TELS FOR A DE­FINED EX­PE­RI­ENCE, OF HO­TEL-LIKE LUX­URY AND EX­TEN­SIVE AMENI­TIES. tO­DAY, THE LIFE­STYLE IS SUCH THAT ONE’S BATH­ROOM AT HOME IS AL­MOST A SPA EX­PE­RI­ENCE ON ITS OWN AND MORE IM­POR­TANTLY, IT IS TAILOR-MADE TO ITS OWNER DOWN TO THE SMALL­EST DE­TAIL. iT IS THERE­FORE HO­TELS THAT MUST KEEP UP NOW, PRO­VID­ING A ‘ RES­I­DEN­TIAL’ AND A

‘ HOME AWAY FROM HOME’ EX­PE­RI­ENCE TO THEIR GUESTS. aN­OTHER IN­FLU­ENC­ING FAC­TOR IS THE VERY DEF­I­NI­TION OF LUX­URY; IT IS NO LONGER PER­CEIVED AS OPULENCE CRE­ATED BY LARGE AP­PLI­CA­TIONS OF EX­PEN­SIVE MA­TE­RI­ALS, SUCH AS MAR­BLE AND MEAN­ING­LESS OVER-DEC­O­RA­TION. tO­DAY LUX­URY IS MORE ABOUT IN­TU­ITIVE DE­SIGN, FLOW AND IN­TE­GRA­TION AND THE EX­PE­RI­ENCE AND THE QUAL­ITY OF TIME ONE WILL SPEND IN A SPACE.

nAJEE sYRIANI (ns): dEPEND­ING ON STAR RAT­ING, THE BATH­ROOM DE­SIGN, LAY­OUT, SIZE AND fiN­ISHES DE­VELOP IN RICH­NESS, CRE­ATIV­ITY AND COM­PLEX­ITY.

aS THE GUEST BATH­ROOM IS A MA­JOR EL­E­MENT IN THE HO­TEL EX­PE­RI­ENCE FOR OUR GUESTS, FAC­TORS SUCH AS PRAC­TI­CAL­ITY, DURA­BIL­ITY AND AM­BI­ENCE ARE IM­POR­TANT AND PIV­OTAL TO THE COM­FORT

OF THE GUEST. bUT THAT’S NOT ALL. bATH­ROOMS NOWA­DAYS ARE ALSO ABOUT NEW IDEAS, CRE­ATIVE LIGHT­ING, NEWLY IN­TRO­DUCED FIN­ISHES AND EVEN TECH­NOL­OGY FEA­TURES THAT ADD TO THE OVER­ALL “FUN” EX­PE­RI­ENCE BE­YOND OUR OWN HOME.

fiHAT KIND OF PROD­UCTS, MA­TE­RI­ALS AND TEX­TURES DO YOU RECKON WORK BEST IN HO­TELS,

in terms of cost ef­fi­ciency, dura­bil­ity and main­te­nance without com­pro­mis­ing on the aes­thet­ics?

GG:

We see an in­creas­ing num­ber of al­ter­na­tive ma­te­ri­als, which per­form very well on ef­fi­ciency, dura­bil­ity and main­te­nance.

Th­ese in­clude wa­ter-re­sis­tant and durable wall­pa­per, porce­lain, and the new gen­er­a­tion of ar­ti­fi­cial mar­ble and wood, which start to look more and more like the ex­pen­sive nat­u­ral ones.

NS:

With the ad­vance of tech­nol­ogy, the sky is the limit with pos­si­bil­i­ties and op­tions. What­ever was frowned upon in terms of fin­ishes such as wood floor­ing for ex­am­ple, can now be found in re­con­sti­tuted ma­te­ri­als, look-alike fin­ishes, and newly in­tro­duced com­bi­na­tions. But fun­da­men­tals such as cost ef­fi­ciency, dura­bil­ity and main­te­nance still pre­vail. In terms of floors and van­ity tops usu­ally sub­jected to the most heavy us­age, it is im­por­tant to opt for durable stones, even if re­con­sti­tuted. Gran­ite and mar­ble tops, although still con­sid­ered as lux­u­ri­ous fin­ishes, are hard to main­tain es­pe­cially when nat­u­ral, and not prop­erly treated or sealed. Walls fin­ishes are fairly more straight­for­ward, and of­fer more op­tions for de­sign­ers, although it is im­por­tant to se­lect the right fin­ish in wet ar­eas.

What are the big­gest chal­lenges in this sec­tor? GG:

One of the key con­straints, and it is not lim­ited to bath­rooms alone, is the smaller bud­get that clients spend on hos­pi­tal­ity. In­te­rior de­sign­ers are in­creas­ingly un­der pres­sure to come up with colour pal­ettes and ma­te­ri­als that cre­ate a high-end prod­uct at a lower bud­get.

An­other chal­lenge is that while bath­room blue­prints are the same, clients are look­ing for a larger open space and a grander ex­pe­ri­ence. But com­ing from Europe, we are more than com­fort­able with this. One of our bou­tique ho­tels – the Mar­ket Street Ed­in­burgh – is based on 19m2 for a stan­dard room.

NS:

In our part of the world, pri­vacy is im­por­tant. And bath­room de­signs need to con­sider this fac­tor. No mat­ter how cre­ative one could get in terms of trans­parency, open­ness and bath­room de­con­struc­tion, yet, one can’t dis­re­gard the cus­toms and cul­tural con­sid­er­a­tions that gov­ern guest be­hav­iour.

An­other chal­lenge we find is prac­ti­cal­ity. De­sign­ers need to con­sider ho­tel op­er­a­tion and ease of clean­ing and main­te­nance while ‘ re-in­vent­ing’ the bath­room. Bath­rooms that are dif­fi­cult to clean, re­quire more than av­er­age time, which will even­tu­ally af­fect ho­tel op­er­a­tions and add to the cost.

What are the new trends and in­no­va­tions we can ex­pect from bath­room de­sign for the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor?

GG:

The trends come nat­u­rally from the ma­jor in­flu­ence fac­tors we have men­tioned, which is the change in life­style ex­pec­ta­tions and the new def­i­ni­tion of lux­ury. One of the trends we see in­creas­ingly de­manded by clients is day­light in the bath­room and mov­ing wet ar­eas closer to the win­dows to as­sure the view is great. Im­por­tant to note here that pri­vacy is an im­por­tant as­pect in our re­gion and must be main­tained. An­other trend is an

OPEN LAY­OUT, WHERE THE BATH­ROOM FUNC­TION IS MELD­ING INTO THE BED­ROOM OR THE LIV­ING AREA, AS CLEANS­ING AND RE­JU­VE­NA­TION ARE KEY TO MOD­ERN LIFE­STYLES AND GUESTS’ WELL­NESS GOALS.

ns:

nEW TRENDS IN BATH­ROOM DE­SIGN CAN

VARY FROM LAY­OUT ‘ DE­CON­STRUC­TION’ AS WE SEE IN MANY HO­TELS NOWA­DAYS AND NEW COLOUR COM­BI­NA­TIONS, TO A CHOICE OF FIN­ISHES. tHE POS­SI­BIL­I­TIES FOR IN­NO­VA­TIONS ARE LIM­IT­LESS. FROM MIR­RORS WITH BUILT-IN tffS AND TRANSPARENT BATH­ROOM FA­CADES THAT TURN OPAQUE WITH THE PRESS OF A BUT­TON, TO IN­TER­AC­TIVE TOI­LET SEATS AND TROP­I­CAL RAIN SHOW­ERS WITH LIGHT­ING SCENES, ALL IS POS­SI­BLE. ffiET, IN­NO­VA­TIONS THAT TACKLE WA­TER CON­SUMP­TION AND GREEN SO­LU­TIONS ARE MY FAVOURITE, AND A LOT OF BRANDS ARE WORK­ING DILI­GENTLY TO PRO­VIDE GUESTS

WITH IN­TER­AC­TIVE AND EN­JOY­ABLE EX­PE­RI­ENCES WHILE AD­DRESS­ING BET­TER CON­SUMP­TION AND OP­TI­MISED US­AGE.

HOW LONG IS THE AV­ER­AGE PE­RIOD OF TIME THAT BATH­ROOMS (BOTH GUEST SUITES AND PUB­LIC AR­EAS) IN HO­TELS LAST BE­FORE THEY HAVE TO BE RE­FUR­BISHED?

GG:

fiHILE SOFT RE­FUR­BISH­MENT IS USU­ALLY DONE AF­TER FIVE YEARS OF EX­TEN­SIVE USE, THE BATH­ROOMS’ DE­SIGN AND AMENI­TIES MAY HAVE A LONGER SHELF LIFE OF ABOUT 10 TO 12 YEARS. aT THE SAME TIME, WE HAVE DE­SIGNED HO­TELS IN THE PAST – THE LIKES OF ¢OLLEGE HO­TEL IN aM­S­TER­DAM (2005) OR THE dO­MINI­CAN IN bRUS­SELS (2008) – WHERE THE BATH­ROOMS AND THE IN­TE­RI­ORS IN GEN­ERAL HAVE AGED VERY WELL DUE TO THE QUAL­ITY OF SELECTED MA­TE­RI­ALS AND PROPER MAIN­TE­NANCE. mORE­OVER, EVEN THE DE­SIGN AES­THET­ICS OF TH­ESE HO­TELS IS STILL REL­E­VANT, PRO­VID­ING THE AD­VAN­TAGE TO THEIR OWN­ERS, WHO ARE NOT UN­DER PRES­SURE OF RE­FUR­BISH­MENT.

ns:

iF BUILT TO LAST, AND WHEN NO COR­NERS

ARE CUT, GUESTROOM BATH­ROOMS SHOULD LAST BE­TWEEN SEVEN TO 10 YEARS ON AV­ER­AGE. PUB­LIC AR­EAS BATH­ROOMS HAVE MORE FRE­QUENT US­AGE, BUT STILL AN AV­ER­AGE OF SEVEN YEARS CAN AP­PLY. HAV­ING SAID THAT, SOME­TIMES A CHANGE IN IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGN TRENDS PUSHES OP­ER­A­TORS AND OWN­ERS TO CON­SIDER REFURBISHMENTS TO ALIGN PROD­UCTS WITH THE REST OF THE OF­FER­INGS.

dO YOU RECKON HO­TELS ARE SPEND­ING MORE ON BATH­ROOM DE­SIGN NOW THAN HIS­TOR­I­CALLY, SINCE GUEST BATH­ROOMS AS­PIRE TO PRO­VIDE A SPA-LIKE AM­BI­ENCE? GG:

iT IS NOT THE SPEND­ING THAT IS HIGHER, BUT THE AT­TEN­TION AND EF­FORT THAT HO­TELS PUT NOW TO THE BATH­ROOM DE­SIGN, DUE TO THE EM­PHA­SIS GUESTS PLACE ON THEIR BATH­ROOM EX­PE­RI­ENCE DUR­ING THEIR

stay. As in­te­rior de­sign­ers, we love that own­ers and op­er­a­tors tend to be more open-minded and cre­ative in their ap­proach nowa­days, as op­posed to closely fol­low­ing the brand book and bare min­i­mum re­quire­ments.

NS:

Spa-like am­bi­ences and ex­clu­sive bath­room ex­pe­ri­ences start with the de­sign, colour com­bi­na­tions, light­ing, the right choice of fin­ishes and a proper ex­e­cu­tion, not for­get­ting prac­ti­cal­ity and dura­bil­ity. Spend­ing more on bath­rooms does not make an ex­pe­ri­ence more en­joy­able if all the other el­e­ments are not ful­filled. Own­ers nowa­days are very care­ful with bud­gets, but tech­nol­ogy and the large ar­ray of op­tions in af­ford­able yet amaz­ing de­signs, fin­ishes ideas and in­no­va­tions is al­low­ing de­vel­op­ers to wow guests while main­tain­ing rea­son­able bud­gets.

What is the kind of cost we are talk­ing about, on an av­er­age, on bath­rooms in ho­tels cur­rently? GG:

In this re­gion, we have seen the av­er­age bath­room cost be­ing AED80,000 for high-end and AED40,000 for life­style prop­er­ties, but that varies greatly based on the client’s goals, lo­ca­tion

and the brand.

NS:

On an av­er­age, a five-star ho­tel guestroom bath­room would cost be­tween AED8,500 to AED10,000 per m2, ex­clud­ing MEP ser­vices. Five-star fin­ishes, how­ever, can in­crease costs, depend­ing on spec­i­fi­ca­tions and clients’ as­pi­ra­tions.

Bath­room de­signed by Glint­meijer De­sign Stu­dio forthe Hy­att Cen­tric ho­tel on The Palm Jumeirah.

Lux­u­ri­ous bathrooom suite de­signed by Glint­meijerDe­sign Stu­dio for a hos­pi­tal­ity client.

Ger­ard Glint­meijer.

fiHEN IT COMES TO BATH­ROOM DE­SIGN, THE POS­SI­BIL­I­TIESFOR IN­NO­VA­TION ARE END­LESS.

nAJEE sYRIANI.

bRANDS SUCH AS rOTANA ARE TRY­ING TO BAL­ANCE THE LUX­URYEX­PE­RI­ENCE WITH OP­TI­MUM WA­TER US­AGE.

Ho­tels are putting more at­ten­tion and ef­fort intobath­room de­sign than ever be­fore.

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