We share a collection of tools that can help hospitality businesses turn inwards to offer guests respite from busy life, meeting the needs of today's travellers.

Consider external inputs 

Something as simple as the removal of external media can send a big ‘switch off’ message to guests, while contactless stays mean more alone time. Consider the additions, too – calming exercise aids, for instance, or tools for rituals like tea ceremonies. As for the interior design, the use of repetition, symmetry and minimalism can help to soothe the senses. 

Slow things down, inside and out 

Think about the signals the interior is sending: desks suggest work while daybeds say relaxation. What services can help to slow down the pace, both in- and outside the hotel? Rather than inviting the entire neighbourhood, events might be intimate and for guests only. And staff/guidebooks can suggest quieter activities beyond the hotel’s walls to extend the slow experience.

Introduce home comforts 

Guests are more likely to be able to unwind when they feel cocooned and comfortable. Forgo slick and shiny in favour of down-to-earth interiors that incorporate natural, tactile materials. Aspects that tell a personal story about a place and its people can also foster familiarity. 

Use variety to encourage repeat visits 

With travellers looking to destinations closer to home in the near future, locals could become key clientele. A varied space – with different designs for different guest rooms for example – leaves more to discover during their next stay. 

Build for biophilia 

Many cities lack a strong connection with nature – precisely what people tend to seek out to find more balance and self-connection. Even a small introduction to biophilic design – reported to have calming, grounding effects – can go a long way inside city hotels. 

This toolkit concludes our series on hotels' shift from social hotspots to inner-city refuges. Read the full Lab in Frame 140.

Cover image: Hishiya, Fumihiko Sano Studio’s renovation of a folk house in Fukuchiyama City, is within two hours’ drive of Kyoto.