New hotel rooms generate an intergenerational battle

Hotels are going for a new minimalist look to attract younger guests, but some older business travelers don't like the small "desks"—and they don't want to work in the hotel lobby. But it's really all about trimming construction costs.

March 09, 2016 |
Rob Cassidy

Yotel, New York City. Photo: JasonParis, flickr creative commons

Great article by Scott Mayerowitz, an aviation writer with the Associated Press, on new hotel designs for Marriott, Best Western "Vib" and "Glo" brands, Hilton's "Tru," and Starwood "Aloft."

Key point: "Younger travelers ... just want a clean and efficient space to stay." Mayerovitz says some hoteliers are eliminating desks in favor of seating with a flexible tablet for your laptop.

The hotel chains are encouraging young people to camp out in the lobby, where they can curl up on a couch with their tablets and order a drink ($$$ - ka-ching!), while socializing with other guests.

Older business travelers who spend 100 or more days on the road may not go for the changes: no closets (hooks on the wall), smaller desks (if any).

Bottom line: Hotel owners want to cut construction costs. The hotel chains don't own the buildings, they just manage them.

The Hilton Tru will come in at $85K/room to build, vs. $110K for a typical Hampton Inn room. Best Western Glo: $65K/room.

My recommendation: Try the Yotel at 12th Ave and 42nd St in NYC. Incredible design and engineering, and the 42nd St bus is really convenient for going cross-town.

Rob Cassidy | BD+C Editors

Robert Cassidy is Executive Editor of Building Design+Construction. A city planner, he is the author of several books, including “Livable Cities,” and was a co-founder of the Friends of the Chicago River.

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