Global Trends | How hotels are combining art and experience.

The Australian hotel market continues to grow at an impressive rate, becoming more competitive as international hotel groups make inroads into a growing number of destinations. This has led to the guest experience evolving in new and exciting ways.

2019 saw the opening of a number of creatively designed new and refurbished hotels. From the Ritz-Carlton in Perth, the $40m revitalisation of Sydney’s esteemed Sheraton on the Park, to Chadstone Shopping Centre owners Vicinity Centres and Gandel’s MGallery by Sofitel at Chadstone, Melbourne. 

Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) figures show another 272 new hotels are in the pipeline for completion by the middle of next decade with more than 45,000 new rooms added in Australia by 2025.

Customer experience plays a key role in the design process. The next generation traveller is seeking out unique and innovative experiences. Hotels operators are keen to maintain customer loyalty and therefore provide new and exciting destinations which align to this trend. In an experiential economy, consumers no longer book accommodation, they book an experience.

Hotels continue to invest in enhancing the customer experience through placemaking, facades, art and bespoke features. 

Lobby at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas. Photo via Kelly Technologies. Rockwell Group transform guests’ experiences from the minute they enter the lobby of the luxury hotel and casino through intriguing content from creators ranging from newly emerging to established artists.
The Peninsula Hong Kong featuring Janet Echelman’s Earthtime 1.26 (2019). Photo courtesy The Peninsula.
KAWS, At This Time (2016) at The Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Clubs, Bermuda. Photo courtesy the Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club.
Artist Pere Gifre’s 80-foot waterfall that cascades down the centre of the VP Plaza España Hotel in Madrid. Image via

Hotels have long had links with the arts world. The trend is now accelerating and Art is becoming a avenue for hotels to impress, while creating a unique environment.

Introducing bespoke features and art has the ability to hugely differentiate a lobby and what makes this even better is when the installation takes into account historical or contextual relevance. There needs to be a story behind the feature and this narrative is what sets spaces apart for the user.

2020 will also see the continued rise of narrative-led hotels, with the intention of a hotel as not just a place, but a holistic experience extending from brand. A distinct brand identity and personality provides a foundation to curate a narrative for the brand and brand experiences.  Storytelling will be integrated throughout design that’s aimed at creating authentic experiences. The best hotel design occurs when the brand is integrated into the architecture and public realm to provide cohesion to all branded touch-points.

The Blueprint are specialists in developing experiences for brands. Our solutions encompass all touch points; wayfinding, placemaking, public art, lighting and digital activations. 

Our creative studio has been involved in bringing many unique hotel experiences to life including The Prince Akatoki, Crowne Plaza, Sky Suites by Crown Group, Little Albion and Felix Hotel by 8Hotels

‘All You Need Is Love’ was used in a colourful Architectural Feature for the recently refurbished Little Albion Guest House in Surry Hills, Sydney. 8Hotels transformed the dilapidated convent and boarding house into one of Sydney’s coolest establishments. The inclusion of this feature activates a dull concrete wall enclosing the lobby space

The Little Albion Guest House, Surry Hills – 8Hotels

The Felix Hotel at Sydney Airport is another signage, art and architectural feature project completed for the boutique hotel group, 8Hotels. The architecture, interior design, art and features immerse guests in the airport experience and creates a strong visual identity for the hotel in tribute to the 1960s golden era of aviation.

The Felix Hotel at Sydney Airport – 8Hotels

At Felix Hotel the narrative is expressed throughout the hotel through the playful retro neon signs, electronic flight display system in the lift, conference rooms named ‘Boeing’ and ‘Airbus’ and an elegant trivision sign portraying a modern art interpretation of Ned Kelly. 

Celebrating the Art, Ritual and Elegance of Japanese hospitality, the newly redeveloped luxury 5-star hotel experience by Staywell Group, The Prince Akatoki’s distinct brand identity provides a foundation to curate a narrative integrated into the architecture and design to provide cohesion to all branded touchpoints.

The name Akatoki comes from an ancient Japanese word for dawn. It captures the optimism and positivity for the day ahead. Designed by Interbrand, this idea was the key driver for the brand experience, from the logo, to the identity inspired by the colours of sunrise, to a guest experience that emphasises the best ways to start the day.

The pink on cream sunrise illustrations by Matt Murphy fusuma panels within the minimal interiors of the hotel. The new identity has been designed by the Sydney, Australia, office of Interbrand. Image sourced from

Expanding the brand and new identity and applying it into the built environment, The Blueprint created The Prince Akatoki signage guidelines translating the brand from 2D into 3D form whilst maintaining an authentic, considered, uncomplicated and minimal design approach. We outline how to use and apply the brand in built environments, as well as assist decision-making when selecting which branded element to apply to deliver a distinct brand experience.

Applying The Prince Akatoki brand design principles – natural light, tranquillity, modern Japanese culture and minimalism, the narrative set into to our concepts was inspired by the sunrise and distilled the play of light and shadow into the design. 

Our design studio are currently involved in a number of new hotel openings across Australia with further updates to come soon.

Hotel openings that we are excited about:

  • Ritz-Carlton Melbourne, set for completion in 2022
  • W hotel Los Angeles, due to open in 2021.
  • Rosewood Tower in Sao Paulo, situated within a vertical park created by Nouvel.
  • The ME by Melia Hotels, Dubai, designed by Zaha Hadid.
  • 1 Hotel London Mayfair to Open in 2022