Door Hardware

  • The Higher Demand of Boutique Hotel Architecture

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    During the 1980s, a different breed of hotels emerged in New York, London, and San Francisco. Known as boutique hotels, they aimed to set themselves apart from overly ubiquitous big hotel chains. Rather than simply providing lodging and slapping on some amenities, boutique hotels were unique in their style and furnishings. They traditionally targeted people in 20s to 50s, who had more disposable income.

    Now that boutique hotels have become more commonplace with big chains in the game (e.g. Intercontinental Hotel Group with Hotel Indigo), the standards have gone up even more. People expect the personal attention of a small hotel combined with the amenities of a luxury brand.

    Even the very definition of boutique hotels is getting blurred. The “purists” would say that a hotel couldn’t be considered boutique if it exceeds 100 to 150 rooms. That’s due to the belief that it’s harder for a bigger hotel to provide personal experience.

    On the contrary, some would say a hotel size doesn’t play as big of a factor; it’s all about the approach and attitude. As long as hotels answer this one crucial question, they can be considered boutique. Do they entertain and delight? Whether through music, architecture, lighting, unique or specialized themes or art, as long as hotels provide one-of-a-kind atmosphere, they meet the criteria for boutique.

    Even if people disagree on the true definition, one thing is certain about boutique hotels. People want the personal experience. Every room is slightly different and not a cookie-cutter design. Only the essential amenities are provided because too many choices can actually paralyze people when making decisions. But these amenities don’t feel like the “bare minimum.”

    Detail to attention is meticulous. Take door hinges for example. Not too many people think about door hinges, but at many boutique hotels that boast contemporary interior, you’ll notice the hinges are missing.

    These “invisible hinges” are hidden when the doors and cabinets are closed, adding to the smooth and clean lines. Unless the hotels are going for the vintage or classical look, traditional hinges are bulky, take up a lot of room, and detract from the decor. Concealed door hinges solve that problem.

    Boutique hotels also meet higher standards by essentially being mind readers. They go beyond the expensive sheets and memory foam beds. Prior to check in, they’ll ask their guests what their sleeping preferences are and provide accordingly. This ensures every guest has a customized experience.

    In a nutshell, boutique hotels focus on providing quality experience at a personal level, regardless of the size. They pay attention to smallest details, like using hidden hinges on their doors and cabinets. They generally take care to make sure their interior is different and reflects the characteristics of the hotels.

    Hospitality Design Guide

  • Designing for the Disabled with Arthritis On The Rise

    37248616_sLike the rest of the world, the population in the United States is aging fast. That means more seniors will suffer from arthritis.

    But arthritis is not a condition that’s just associated with the elderly. More than 50 million people from all age groups currently suffer from this condition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that by 2030, more than 67 million people aged 18 years and older will be diagnosed with arthritis.

    It’s necessary to design homes and products for these people in mind. Home design trends already indicate that there’s a strong interest in “accessible design” that can accommodate multiple generations of people living in the same household.

    Accessible Design Elements

    Not everyone has the luxury of custom-building a house for a family member who has arthritis. But some most of these ideas require a simple retrofitting.

    1. Non-Slippery Floors

    People with osteoarthritis in their knees are more prone to slipping and falling, leading to more serious injuries. Therefore, floors should be covered with slip-resistant materials like nonskid rugs. For people using walkers, low-pile carpeting prevents them from catching on deep pile and falling.

    2. Safe Stairs

    For arthritis patients, stairs or even a slight step can be dangerous and difficult. Although it’s ideal for them to stay on the lowest floor, that might not always be possible. For example, there might be no bedroom on the first floor of a 2-story townhouse. In this case, installing handrails on both sides are a must. If handrails are not enough consider installing a chair lift. Stairways should also have ample lighting to prevent falls.

    3. No Doorknobs

    Being able to open doors by turning doorknobs is something healthy people can take for granted. Arthritis makes it hard, even painful for people to turn a doorknob. A simple solution is installing a lever-style doorknob. There are many arthritis friendly door latches in the market. SOSS is a company that specializes in UltraLatch – a different kind of doorknob that doesn’t require turning or gripping.

    4. Safe Baths

    Many homes come with tubs. Tubs are great for relaxation but they’re not easy to get into and out of for people with arthritis. Step-in showers with low entry solve this problem. Grab bars in the showers and by the toilet can further help prevent falls.

    5. Accessible Kitchen

    Good kitchen design for people with arthritis includes cabinets that are the right height so they don’t have to reach up or bend down. Dishwasher can also be raised for people with back pain.

    Designing for the disabled doesn’t have to be expensive or require a complete remodel of the house. With some creativity, many places in the house can be retrofitted to include all of the design elements above. These ideas will ensure that people with arthritis or other disabilities aren’t living in pain when performing their day-to-day tasks.

  • What Similarities Do Most High End Hotels Share

    Hospitality DesignNot all hotels are designed the same. Some simply aim to provide a bed for the night while others offer luxury at a premium price. Then there are the ones in-between.

    People stay at high end, ultra luxury hotels for different reasons. Many travel for business. Some may be “travel hackers” who aspire to goals like getting the best deal and hacking different hotels’ reward schemes. For others, it may be a once in a lifetime experience for their honeymoon or special occasion.

    Whatever the reasons there are certain expectations when people stay at high-end hotels. Premium amenities and catering to need is expected. Since they are likely paying the premium price for their stay, they are right to expect all of those. Why do some hotels deliver while others fail?

    Successful high-end hotels, whether they are part of a chain or independently operated, all share common similarities other than their price. Here are three things high-end hotels have in common.

    1. Focus on Sleep Quality

    No matter how luxurious a hotel may be, it is not home. Even the most seasoned road warriors have a hard time sleeping in an unfamiliar bed.

    Everyone knows the benefit of getting a good night’s sleep, but not all hotels show it. This is probably the biggest thing that sets apart high-end hotels from the others - they cater to their guests’ sleep quality. They go beyond the usual Tempur-Pedic beds, expensive sheets and pillow menus; some even offer handmade mattresses.

    2. Attention to Detail

    High-end hotels provide attention to the smallest detail. This can be having a moisturizer ready in the bathroom on a cold day. When the recession hit, even high-end hotels had to cut back on some of their amenities. However, the successful ones have been able to discern which ones to keep and what they could get rid of.

    Attention to detail can show up in the most unexpected way, like invisible hinges. An invisible hinge, whether it is for doors or cabinets, creates a clean line, achieving a look that is modern and premium. Such a look improves the overall experience of the guest. The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore is one hotel that uses invisible hinges throughout the hotel.

    3. Aim to Delight

    High-end hotels are about building relationships and creating a lasting impression to bring people back again and again. Their guests are not simply warm bodies to fill their beds.

    With review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor so rampant, messing up on even the tiniest thing can make or break business. Quality hotels know this better than anyone else. Their goal is not simply to help guests have a good stay; they aim to delight.

    See what other similarities high-end and boutique hotels share in common by checking out our free hospitality design guide.

    Hospitality Design Guide

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