The basics in resort development space planning and design

If you as the hotel developer or owner do not know where your “Center” is, maybe you do not know you should have one. What is it? It is that little space where a couple or a single guy would feel most comfortable being in, when no one else is around.

At a resort, may be it is that spot in the pool area or at the terrace bar. At a city hotel, the lobby bar and the restaurants all need a favorite and comfortable center, the most homey spot in the house. Like that old lounge in the den you go to on a raining winter night to watch Sunday night football with your dog.

Too many resort hotel developers, operators and designers make impatient and non-carefully thought-out decisions on layouts and use of space. Extraordinary attention to details is needed for key small space planning where this couple and the single guy will spend hours. These areas form the long-lasting consolidated impression of many clients. They are keys to the property’s success, especially in a resort where customers hang around longer.

We have a talent for space planning that ONLY hospitality people who have worked in hotel spaces for years would have. This is a skill that is critical to a project’s success and can save you heaps of money in effective utilization or reduction of building space.

Do architects have this skill in planning? No. Do interior designers? No. But together with a ‘user’, that is, the hotelier, who utilizes the space day in and day out, hence knows what he is talking about, this is a winning solution.

We have the ability to think through carefully the impression that you will give to the customer who frequents your hotel in the off-season, in a quiet period, during down-time. We recognize that not 100% of the space will be used 100% of the time; and at down times, we need to be aware of the ambiance that is lost when the space is empty of clients.

Most of all, without the eye-for-details input that can only originate from experienced hoteliers, architects and interior designers will inevitably fall short on practicality.

Reflection: when I was the General Manager of a soon-to-be Four Seasons at Kuda Huraa in the Maldives, I spent the first weeks designing each restaurant table, the width, the length, the thickness and the height, not forgetting the lighting, the wine display, the condiment container, the sugar, the creamer, all had to be measured and their movements anticipated. My Executive Chef and I ‘sat’ in each seat and anticipated the view, the waiters’ traffic patterns and the face contact with other clients. It was not an accident that we had 80% occupancy in the fist 8 months after opening and was acknowledged as one of the 10 best small hotels in the world by Conde Nast Traveler as early as in the first year.

As resort hotel consultants and business advisers with our experience and insights as hoteliers we can help developers save tons of money in formulating the build-out program, and owners will reap the benefit down the road in maximizing profit and future asset value due to effective space planning and creating operating concepts that will not just work, but really position the resort above the crowd.  If you are planning to expand an existing hotel or build a new one then our thinking and eye-for-details can be paramount to the success of your project.

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