In my wandering through the websites of many large chain hotels I found myself somewhat disheartened. Having viewed hotel rooms in different hotels of the same chain across different continents I felt that I could visit any of the ones I looked at and have no idea the city that I were in.
However then I stumbled across the Dior suite at the St Regis hotel in NYC and I thought to myself is this phenomenon of interior design that transcends continents a problem if done with some creativity?
From a design point of view the Dior suite is a triumph. The fixtures and fittings beautifully complement the classic very neutral decor with a feeling of pure luxury. The reason I have chosen to comment on this suite in particular though is the fact that it is shamelessly and undeniably french.
If I were to close the curtains on the New York skyline and attempt to position myself in the world purely on the decor of the room, I would feel like I had travelled back in time to early 20th century Paris. The feeling of old french luxury is breathtaking. Is this not what we want? I know that after a day of pounding the pavement and seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching everything that is quintessentially “New York” the ability to turn a door handle and be transported away from the hustle and bustle of the city to somewhere altogether more..... French would be welcome
Hotel’s strive for this in a lot of ways. Many focus on designing their rooms as an area of tranquility and relaxation to allow you to unwind after a busy day. I suppose one could argue that the “brand standard” way of furnishing hotel rooms allows the occupier to imagine that they are anywhere in the world, though I feel that this is tenuous at best.
The “brand standard” does however allow a hotel to communicate a distinct set of values to every customer who walks through its doors, something that can very easily get lost in translation if each and every room in every hotel were unique. This uniqueness is not something that realistically can be pursued by a brand with thousands of hotels and hundreds of thousands of rooms, only those hotel which are unique in themselves. But for those few that are able to think outside the box, it provides a welcome change for those lucky enough to experience it.
Photographs courtesy of the St. Regis New York