The lobby should embody a hotel’s personality. From the moment you walk into a hotel, a lobby helps set the mood, whether it is cozy, contemporary, casual, classy, or clever; the vibe is felt, and the experience begins. Luxe Lodgings contributor Angela Fairhurst found eight hotel lobbies, each with a distinct personality.
Designers of the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle wanted the lobby walls to convey a modern interpretation of a Pacific Northwest stone canyon with sedimentary layers worn away by the elements. Upon entering, the eye is immediately drawn to the horizontally layered stone-clad walls, leading to a large focal fireplace opposite the entry with a wood hearth made from reclaimed American chestnut from Vashon Island, Washington. Seating groups surround the fireplace, where you can enjoy cocktails and food from Goldfinch Tavern while enjoying a Pacific Northwest sunset. The front desk and concierge showcase artwork with some of Seattle’s most prominent artists, such as Morris Graves, Mark Tobey, and Guy Anderson. There is also a two-story Calacata Vagli marble-clad wall at a grand staircase. The designers from Brayton Hughes Design Studios clearly achieved their goal.
The décor in Hôtel Metropole Monte-Carlo’s lobby changes with each season and is inspired by the sights and sounds of Monaco. Instead of changing the décor tied to a holiday, Hôtel Metropole updates the looks called “Metropole Moods.” Each mood offers a unique central display in the middle of the lobby entrance called “Prince’s Salon” along with a display in the lobby lounge. Everything changes from small to big: the placemats at the tables in the lobby lounge; the colors of the glassware in the restaurants; the staff uniforms; sometimes whole trees, plants, and more. Lobbies are turned overnight by a dedicated team led by the hotel’s artistic director—keeping the magic of Metropole alive. Previous moods have included Over The Rainbow, Grace Kelly, Exotic Chic, and most recently, Metropole Moonlight.
The Hotel D’Angleterre is located in Copenhagen’s main city square Kongens Nytorv. Established in 1755, the hotel is considered a legendary institution in Copenhagen. The entrance has an elegant Scandinavian design. The classic contemporary composition has scattered touches of vibrant yet calming color—usually the hotel’s signature color, purple, is added into floral arrangements crafted by Alan Evensen, the hotel’s creative director. The main reception is fitted with large windows, flooding natural, Nordic light deep into the building to highlight the shadows and crevices of the original ceiling’s detailed rosettes. Off the grand entrance is the drawing room—a warm and relaxed area with a fireplace where you can settle in after a long day.
The Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs opened its doors in November of 2013. Converted from a 1970s inn, the designers kept in mind the vibe of Palm Springs and the Coachella music and art festival. The double height ceilings in the expansive lobby made for an inspiring canvas, with drum cymbals covering the walls of the entrance with striped carpet leading into the main lobby. The unique cove in the middle allowed for an opportunity to collaborate with German artist Benoit Maubrey in constructing an “active” sound sculpture of 500 loudspeakers that are all wired for sound and Bluetooth capability. Extending from the speaker wall is a gallery of photographs by award-winning photographer Paige Parsons, who specializes in indie festival photography. The lobby’s sunken “living room” provides extra seating for the lobby bar. True to Hard Rock form, rock ‘n roll memorabilia adorns the area, giving it a museum-like quality, yet keeping it comfortable.
Once a 16th century convent, the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco is one of the city’s newest five-star hotels, built to honor as much of the site’s history and culture as possible. Inside, guests feel transported by the colonial stone walls and arches that were once part of the convent’s chapel. A giant 70,000 crystal Swarovski lamp hangs behind the reception desk as a tribute to Inti, the Inca god of sun. At check-in, you will be greeted and escorted to the adjacent Nina Soncco lounge to warm up around a beautiful brick fireplace that sits in the middle. Then you’ll be given coca tea, a typical tisane (herbal tea) in the Andes made to help adjust to Cusco’s high altitude. This cozy communal area is perfect for acclimating, as associates take care of the check-in process.
North Block Hotel is a contemporary boutique hotel located in Yountville, part of California’s wine country. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted in the cozy Erin-Martin designed lobby, with a bar cart offering a selection of Napa Valley red and white wines and appetizers to enjoy by a crackling fireplace with vintage pharmacy ledgers perched atop. A signature of Erin-Martin’s work is suspending objects from the ceiling, with the whimsical lobby reception desk appearing to float against the dark charcoal walls, as well as an antique German Constellation map hanging from nautical rope. The acrylic chandelier glows, drawing attention to the ceiling’s well-worn, painted scaffold boards that provide a homey feel, while large and cushy fur ottomans around the crackled coffee table offer a cozy spot for you to sit. Brass skeleton keys make for a fun wall display and you can take one off the wall to bring home as a keepsake.
The lobby at RIMBA Jimbaran Bali by Ayana makes the cut for inclusion in this article not just because of its modern arc-shaped lobby, but also because the lobby is surrounded by 2.5 acres of water and includes a lobby pond with sunken lounges that are perfectly positioned to capture the sunset colors and reflections. The view from the lobby faces swimming pools that appear to cascade down like Balinese rice terraces, nestled in the surrounding forest and hidden private villas. With its name derived from the Sanskrit word for “forest,” the resort has a contemporary, elegant aesthetic and an emphasis on sustainable design.
La Playa Carmel dates back to 1905. It was once a mansion built as a romantic gesture from an artist to his wife—a member of the famous Ghirardelli chocolate family. Keeping its history and meticulous gardens, it was restored and transformed into a 75-room beach cottage hotel just steps away from Carmel Beach in the quaint square mile town of Carmel. Some of the charm of the mansion remains, with old-fashioned service and a columned fireplace as the focal point of the living room lobby. The fireplace alone exudes warmth, but serving local wine from Monterey at cocktail hour, and chocolate cookies and milk later in the evening, adds to the coziness.
Fore more information about unique hotels around the world, check out:
- Historic Hotels Around the World
- 8 Can’t-Miss Hotel Rooftop Bars
- Unique Art You Can Find in Hotels Around the World
By Angela Fairhurst for PeterGreenberg.com