Highlighting five design blunders hotels kept making in 2015 – and Five New Year Resolutions to fix them


Richard Dean, managing director, Pallavi Dean Interiors and broadcast journalist says in 2016 hoteliers must go back to basics in 2016 to fix a host of simple design mistakes that drive guests mad and cause wanton damage to the environment.

1. Glass toilets

Who wants to watch and listen to their travelling companion visit the loo? Nobody, right? So why do hoteliers and designers keep building glass toilets? They turn a ‘call of nature’ into a spectator sport and act like an echo chamber, amplifying every small splash. Madness.


2016 resolution: back to basics with walls and doors.

2. Complicated in-room automation

The guys who run big hotel chains know this has to change: both Arne Sorenson at Marriott and Gerald Lawless at Jumeirah told me this year that guests want simpler controls. Yet you still need a degree in electronic engineering to turn the lights on and off in many 2015 hotel rooms. Ditto temperature control.

2016 resolution: back to basics with simple on/off switches

3. Complicated shower taps

Two problems in one here: too many buttons and bad labelling. Why does it still take minutes going from icy cold to scalding hot before you can figure out a normal shower temperature? This isn’t just a #firstworldproblem: think of the wasted energy and water.

2016 resolution: back to basics with simple taps and big hot/cold or red/blue labels.

4. Big furniture

Chunky desks. Bulky TV cabinets. Clunky wardrobes. Fridges. All unnecessary clutter. We know that guests crave space. We also know they spend very little time sitting at a desk or watching DVDs. Most guests would happily walk to the end of the corridor for a cold Coke (it works for YOTEL), while the rest could pick up the phone and order.

2016 resolution: declutter. Desks should be like ironing boards – call if you need one.

5. Freezing air conditioning

OK, it’s not really a ‘design’ mistake, but it still needs fixing. High school students know that 24 degrees centigrade should be the default temperature for air conditioning. Yet hotels regularly set it at 19 or 20. Sure, some guests want colder rooms – but they should have to adjust the A/C lower when they check in, not the other way round. The energy wasted is frightening.

2016 resolution: send a memo to all housekeeping staff – 24 degrees.


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