The New World Of Hospitality

Designer Kelli Ellis reimagines the spaces that will welcome us in the post-pandemic world

It may sound crazy, but when you think about it, reality is redesigning our entire world right now. As we imagine what the new world may look like, hospitality designers have to think about reshaping our designs to reflect our new reality. We need to envision design adaptations that meet the post-COVID traveler’s desire to maximize their experiences while minimizing their risks.

The world has spent the better part of two years dreaming about exploration, change, and new experiences. We need to greet it with spaces that bring joy, provide a sense of community, support well-being, and are inclusive.

As we reimagine the future, I believe guestrooms will be one of the most important spaces to reconsider. These private spaces away from home need to be flexible enough to allow for multiple activities. They’ll need to accommodate our need to rest and our need to exercise. They will be places to work and to gather with friends.

We will use them to get away for a quiet meal and to share moments with family. To provide this flexibility, we will need to redesign floorplans to include larger suites and adjoining rooms.

We will also have to consider the surfaces that surround and define our spaces. More than ever, floors and walls will need to stand up to the rigors of being regularly sanitized, without showing wear and tear. Opting for dimensional wall tiles and impermeable floor tiles allows us to keep creativity, health, and safety all at top of mind. To maintain our clients’ desire for wellness, choosing a sustainable yet durable product, like Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT), allows us to maintain an elevated design aesthetic with a focus on health.

Within the floors and walls we will want coverings and fabrics that not only have the right feel and color, but support cleanliness. When I’m reupholstering or creating custom pieces, Culp is one of my favorite makers, as their hospitality fabrics are designed to achieve this perfect trifecta.

Common areas will remain important. However, they will move in a direction quite opposite from the spaces to be shared by large groups of people that we were designing just two years ago. Our new common spaces will include more vignette, private gathering areas for small groups. I am partial to Bernhardt Hospitality for helping to create small “Wow!” moments in large spaces.

Bernhardt Hospitality

Bernhardt Hospitality

Before 2020, we were seeing an increased interest in ethical corporate behavior with an accent on sustainability. SCP Hotel expresses their core values of wellness (Soul), Kindness (Community), and Sustainability (Planet) through their Holistic Hospitality approach to the creation of hotels, coworking venues, restaurants, and fitness centers. These values are always at the core of my designs for them.

SCP Hotel Colorado Springs by Designer Kelli Ellis

Numerous studies have shown that psychological health is linked to nature. As outlined in my Design Psychology Coach program, biophilic environments bring the outside in to strengthen the connections between functionality and the natural world. We have seen this approach to wellness amplified by the pandemic.

SCP Hotel Colorado Springs by Designer Kelli Ellis

More than ever, using real plants, open windows, skylights, and colors that reference nature are popular ways to incorporate biophilic design elements into commercial spaces. By increasing our visual connectivity to nature, they reduce anxiety and reassure our guests. In our SCP Hotel installations, I sought out Phillips Collection for my room anchors. Their massive live edge tables of reclaimed wood, as well as their marble side tables, help create nature inspired warmth and excitement.

Phillips Collection

Phillips Collection

Hotels will continue to be beacons as they welcome travelers into their communities. In our reshaped reality, cleanliness and safety will be part of the ambiance of escape. As the designers of these safe and welcoming, clean and engaging spaces, it is our job to create an atmosphere that reassures our guests emotionally as it reinvigorates their spirits.

About Kelli Ellis

Kelli plays many roles in the design world. Her work as a residential and hospitality designer has a casual international style that reflects her extensive world travels. She is SVP of Global Industry Relations for Ronati, a technology platform for art and antiques dealers. As a follow-up to her best selling book, “Do I look skinny in this house?”, she founded the Design Psychology Coaching program. And she co-founded Interior Design Camp and Design Campus, the world’s leading interior design conferences. A sought-after speaker on business and Design Psychology, Kelli also enjoys a television career that includes appearances on TLC’s Clean Sweep, HGTV‘s Takeover my Makeover, Celebrity Holiday Homes, House Hunters Renovation, and productions of Value Booster’s, Move or Improve, and The House Therapist. Plus, she proudly stars on The Design Network in Design Therapy and Mid Mod: Then and Now.