Hotel reception area, desk

The hotel lobby has entered a new age.

Today, hotel guests are looking for more from their lobbies than just a place to check in or check out. Instead, they’re looking for a warm, comfortable place that can easily fit a variety of needs. Whether they’re an on-the-go professional looking for a space to plug in or a family that needs a space to sit down, guests are expecting a space that will cater to them.

Changing Expectations

Hotels are thinking beyond simply an aesthetically pleasing design in their hotel lobby – they’re looking for function.

For example, in 2017 Hilton hotels unveiled a new hotel brand called Tru by Hilton, created to accommodate millennial travelers. Their lobby design had four specific areas, known as the Eat, Work, Lounge, and Play areas. Their purpose was to mix both social activation and revenue generation with a seamless flow between the other areas. Their lobbies also include large sectional sofas, table and board games, and TVs.

Moving away from a simply decorative hotel lobby, there is now an assumed list of items that hotel lobbies will provide, including:

  • Free and accessible WiFi
  • Water or other complimentary beverages
  • Spacious seating
  • Ample electrical outlets
  • An informational hub, such as a concierge or a collection of pamphlets from local businesses

While this list of amenities is assumed for hotels across the board, some hotels are continuing to adapt by providing multi-functional spaces for a wide array of guests. Here are a few examples of the offerings of modern hotel lobbies.

A Place to Be Productive

Just like the idea of the hotel lobby is changing, so is the hotel business center. Today, more people than ever are traveling with all the technology they need, whether it’s using a laptop or tablet for work or checking in for a flight via an app on a smartphone.

The need for a traditional hotel business center – a handful of computers and printers – “fundamentally has diminished,” says Matthew Carroll, vice president of Global Brand Management for Marriott Hotels & Resorts.

Instead, hotels are adapting to add “common coffeehouse-like” areas in their lobbies to accommodate their working visitors. This includes creating a variety of seating areas that can be used for things like quiet conference calls, a casual business discussion, or independent working. Add in a good amount of electrical outlets, free WiFi, and some free coffee, and your hotel lobby now has a modern-day business center. 

A Place to Relax and Connect

Today, people are making savvier decisions about their hotel options. Instead of valuing the cheapest rate, they’re looking for the quality of the overall experience, which includes their experience in a hotel’s lobby. Sure, some guests are looking for a hotel lobby where they can get work done, but many more are expecting a place where they can relax and socialize.

Comfort and Ambiance

Whether your lobby looks comfortable and warm or exciting and vibrant, it’s critical that your lobby feels inviting. This can be achieved through elements such as furniture choices, lighting design, accessories like board games, and the overall color schemes.

With people spending more and more time in lobbies, hotels also can’t afford to ignore the walls. There are so many options for implementing new colors, designs, and textures to compliment an updated lobby. 

Color schemes that are popular for hotels are often versatile and flow nicely into any adjoining rooms and that work well with the lobby’s lighting. Shades of blue are commonly used to create a sense of calm and serenity, while green can be used to evoke a sense of luxury and decadence. Color schemes with orange are often popular because of its flexibility. Orange  can pull together a more rustic, earth-toned look, or it can be used boldly to create a joyful, positive atmosphere

Besides painting, adding wallcoverings or texturing are two great ways to freshen up a lobby’s look. Commercial wall coverings can be used in almost any environment and can quickly add personality and vibrancy to a room. Texturing, on the other hand, is perfect for hiding any imperfections in your walls, and gives your room a sense of dimension.

While it’s possible to implement these wall and painting additions by yourself, it’s best to consult a professional who will know the right materials and techniques to correctly install your new wall features. Plus, the right team will know how to properly hand wallcoverings so they last for years to come.

Bars and Cafes

Instead of hiding away their bars in other designated areas, lobbies have been livening up by adding a bar as soon as you walk in. A lobby bar creates a more personable experience for hotel guests by giving them not only a nice place to wait but also the chance to enjoy a cocktail while mingling with other guests. For professionals, the lobby bar is also a perfect spot for a quick and casual business conversation.

Cafes and coffee shops are also a popular addition to hotel lobbies, especially for hungry and tired travelers who could use a bite to eat, but without the room service prices. By adding a café or a coffee shop in your hotel lobby, you’re adding another social hub for guests to meet up while giving them more easily accessible dining options.


The idea of a hotel lobby lounge may not be new, but what’s expected of a hotel lounge is! Guests want more than a place to sit while a room is prepared.

To create a lounge area that encourages relaxation, consider adding furniture that is warm, inviting, and comfortable. Other elements of a modern hotel lobby lounge include features like big screen TVs, complimentary drinks, and seating arrangements that encourage socializing between guests.

For example, the Courtyard by Marriott introduced a new lobby scheme design that creates a warm and inviting atmosphere through its flexible seating, communal spaces, private media centers and an intimate lounge area. Besides just encouraging social interaction, new lobby schemes have also replaced the traditional front desks with welcoming podiums, which encourage more interaction between guests and their hosts.

A New Age in Hotel Lobbies

By creating a guest-centered area that encompasses functionality and thoughtful design, hotel lobbies are adapting to the modern-day needs of their visitors. This is a tremendous transformation in the hotel industry as hotel management continues to work with outside designers, decorators, and contractors to bring these new and engaging multi-use spaces to life.

Need help implementing a new color scheme for your hotel lobby? Contact Independence Painting Co. today. We can help transform your lobby into a modern, inviting space without getting in the way of your guests.