This Financial Times article about Accor (the European hotel chain) upgrading 40,000 hotel rooms around the world to speed up the cleaning of budget hotel rooms and lower the cost of cleaning, is the trend of the future for all hotel chains:
“Global hotel chain Accor wanted to improve the ease and speed of cleaning its budget hotel rooms. A room that is quick to clean means guests have the option to check in earlier. London-based agency Priestmangoode designed all the furniture in the 12.5 sq m rooms so that it could be attached to the walls. That way, cleaners do not have to clean around chair, table and bed legs. The electrics and services are contained in a central pillar, so there are no pipes showing behind the basin, and no cables under the desk or behind the bed. Crucially, there is no bathroom. The toilet is in one cubicle and the shower in another.”
Accor isn’t the only chain that is redesigning its hotels for the modern era. Other hotel chains such as Aloft and CitizenM started out as thoroughly modern hotels for the tech-savvy traveler. They provide self-check in and have designed their rooms and common areas with contemporary furniture, characterized by free Wi-Fi, iPod docking stations and stylish furniture.
For me, here are the hallmarks of a 21st century hotel:
(1) Free fast Wi-Fi in the rooms and common areas
(2) Ability to print out boarding passes with minimum hassle
(3) iPod or iPhone docking stations
(4) Mist-free bathroom mirrors (sadly this is common only in Japanese hotels)
(5) Bathtubs are optional. I prefer large shower spaces with very strong high pressure showers.
(6) Light: it shocks me how so many hotels provide poor lighting in guest rooms.
(7) Cozy comfortable sitting areas where guests can hang out or meet people.
(8) Quiet rooms: double glazed windows and well-insulated walls are a must.