August 30, 2023
By Kim Campbell

In the increasingly competitive hospitality industry, how your hotel looks can significantly impact how customers perceive your property. An appealing facade and welcoming lobby can help travelers feel at home, while a sparsely decorated front desk area that lacks personality may appear cold and unfriendly. If you’re searching for hotel decoration ideas that can take your property from drab to fab, you’ve come to the right place.

In this post, we review unique hotel decoration ideas that will leave a positive and lasting impression on your guests. Whether you manage a large, branded hotel or are searching for boutique property design ideas, this list has tips and tricks for properties of all shapes and sizes. From planting whimsical outdoor gardens and installing water features to displaying local artwork, we explore out-of-the-box hotel décor ideas that reinvigorate and rejuvenate.

Memorable hotel decoration ideas that will WOW your guests

1. Cultivate an ethereal outdoor garden

Draw guests to your hotel by planting outdoor decorations. Attract guests seeking the outdoors or provide a respite from the surrounding urban jungle with meticulous landscaping and hotel gardening. Install a seating area where travelers can enjoy a quiet cup of coffee or make a private phone call away from the hustle and bustle of the lobby.

Be mindful of the species you choose; plant flowers and foliage that thrive in your region. Select remarkable pollinator-friendly blooms to attract insects and birds, like the butterfly garden at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. Encourage busy guests to visit the garden to relax, unwind, or snap and share selfies.

2. Display eye-catching art installations

Support local artists, improve your hotel’s curb appeal, and turn the property into a regional attraction by displaying impressive artwork in front of the building. Work with emerging local artists or notable names in your area to form a mutually beneficial partnership. By featuring a large sculpture (or sculptures), an exciting art installation, or a mural, your hotel can use this new unique feature to expand its audience reach, attract a new demographic of guests, and drive business to artists in the community, just as the Crosby Street Hotel did.

Located in the heart of SOHO on cobblestone streets, the facade of the Crosby Street Hotel may blend in with its surroundings, but the art out front certainly makes the property stand out in the crowded NYC hospitality market. The hotel’s owner, Kit Kemp, is also an inspired modern artist and interior designer. In front of the Crosby Street Hotel sits some of Kemp’s works, including a twelve-foot sculpture of a cat, capturing the attention of passersby and making it impossible to miss the hotel’s location.

3. Contrast with your surroundings

In a historic business district, a hotel with a contemporary design will stand out against the backdrop of older factories, warehouses, and brick buildings. In juxtaposition, cottage-style or garden-inspired decorations are sure to stand out amidst busy city streets. Choose outdoor décor that sets you apart from your surroundings, like the PUBLIC Hotel in New York.

The PUBLIC Hotel NYC, located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, is tucked away behind an impressive walkway of dense urban greenery that leads travelers to the contemporary boutique hotel at its end. Designed by Ian Schrager, founder of legendary Studio 54, the living wall of trees and thick foliage entice guests to enter the sleek, modern PUBLIC Hotel, a stark contrast to the concrete and brick that make up the majority of New York City.

4. Add a water feature

Whether indoors or outside, adding a water feature to your hotel can bring a sense of harmony, calm, and balance to the property design. Installing an outdoor water feature can help resorts and hotels located in popular warm-weather vacation destinations create a distinct attraction. Fountains, wildlife ponds, and artistic installations are common outdoor water features for boutique hotels, country inns, branded properties, and more. Recreation-focused properties may consider investing in massive, activity-based water features, like pools and lazy rivers, or even giant waterslides, like the Soaring Eagle Waterpark and Hotel in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

If you’re looking for hotel decoration ideas that bring tranquility and calm to the lobby or other public spaces, consider installing an indoor water feature. Create an indoor oasis by turning one of the lobby walls into a granite waterfall, complete with ambient lighting and vining plants. Install an indoor koi pond to create a mesmerizing, serene, and memorable relaxation experience for guests. During peak check-in times, tired travelers can watch the gorgeous fish swim, distracting them from the crowded lobby and longer wait times. Look to the Embassy Suites by Hilton Las Vegas for inspiration, as the koi pond in the hotel atrium is a great added bonus for guests.

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5. Feature an art collection or rotating exhibit

If you’re looking for out-of-the-box hotel decoration ideas for a luxury property, a boutique hotel with a focus on art, or a hotel located in an art-centric district, consider featuring an art collection or hosting rotating exhibits. In addition to decorating a hotel’s lobby or event space with awe-inspiring art, which can improve the property’s overall appearance, advertising an exclusive showcase or limited-time exhibit can help attract aesthetes from all over to your hotel. Moreover, creative spaces spark innovation and inspiration amongst hotel guests. Work with one artist at a time, host a local showcase, or market rotating exhibits to drive business during low-demand periods.

A Korean-style Integrated Resort in Incheon, South Korea, Paradise City is a booming hotel and tourism center that offers a magnificent blend of Eastern and Western culture. Advertised as an “art-tainment” resort, Paradise City owns and displays an extensive, diverse collection of contemporary art. Modern art pieces are scattered throughout the lobby, hallways, and other hotel spaces, providing intriguing and thought-provoking visuals for every guest passing through. Although some installations in the Paradise Art Space are permanent, the hotel also features special exhibitions and rotating pieces from international artists.

6. Reinvent the hotel minibar

For years, hotel minibars have been on the decline. Various factors, including guest perception and energy waste, have resulted in significantly reduced minibar usage in the hospitality industry. Instead of removing the minibar altogether, however, hoteliers should consider reinventing and repurposing them.

Transform old, drab hotel minibars into high-end amenities that will actually appeal to guests, or tuck them away to create a sleek, chic aesthetic. Hide an unsightly mini fridge in a walnut armoire or an antique trunk, or turn the minibar into a festive showcase of local goods by stocking local snacks, brews, or coffee. Replace old energy-guzzling models with sustainable, innovative, and eco-friendly technology.

7. Offer miniature Instagrammable experiences

With more than 500 million daily users, Instagram is the perfect social media platform for travelers who want to document their experiences and share them with others. Make your hotel Instagram-worthy with good lighting, decoratively themed spaces, locally influenced decor, and exclusive, unique amenities like hammocks or hanging egg chairs. Highlight what makes your property unique and turn it into a snap-worthy experience for guests. For example, The Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado, is Aspen’s only ski-in/ski-out resort. As such, guests at The Little Nell are granted a one-of-a-kind experience that will create a lasting memory and lead to remarkable, Instagram-worthy photo opportunities.

To help guests create memories and have personalized experiences at your property, cultivate Instagrammable moments they can document and photo opportunities they can share. Encourage guests to snap photos, take pictures of their food, and share images on social media. Create a branded hashtag challenge to connect with TikTok users.

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8. Celebrate your hotel’s destination with local decorations

Appeal to travelers’ growing demand for localism by choosing hotel decorations that represent your area. Promote local attractions, display work from local artists, and incorporate destination-related design elements into the hotel’s interior design.

For example, a branded hotel in the southwest may display painted desert landscapes, potted succulents, and framed photos of local landmarks. At the same time, the manager of a quiet country inn may decorate with antique homestead accents, lace tablecloths, or a bookcase full of almanacs. Brainstorm hotel decoration ideas that embrace your destination. Celebrate local history, regional culture, or the property’s unique backstory to help guests personally connect with your location.

9. Bring the outdoors inside

Indoor plants can quickly turn a house into a home, and they can do the same for hotels. Too often, hotels feel bare, empty, and much more like a business than a welcoming place to stay. Large open spaces with sparse decoration can feel sterile and cold, but adding bright, vibrant plants to indoor areas is one of the fastest ways to liven up a room.

In the middle of Sin City, located right on the Vegas Strip, the Park MGM offers peace, tranquility, and a garden-like setting where guests can find relaxation, even in the heart of one of the world’s busiest cities. From the moment guests enter the lobby, lush greenery, living foliage, and a serene atmosphere embrace them. In the bar area, fragrant fresh blossoms and the soothing scent of Eucalyptus greet travelers, allowing them to forget about the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What hotel decoration ideas are the most romantic?

Many hotels decorate for weddings, anniversaries, and other special occasions. The most classic hotel decorations are arguably the most romantic, with rose petals, a bubbling bath, lit candles, and chilled champagne topping the list. For fire-safe romantic low-light options, decorate guest rooms with LED tea lights or string lights instead of lit candles.

2. Which hotel decoration ideas attract remote workers?

As the number of digital nomads continues to rise and more remote workers embrace extended travel, hotels are more focused on creating flexible guest spaces that can quickly transform from work to play. From in-room technology to information community meeting space, hotels are evolving to accommodate more remote and hybrid workers, often by creating casual public workspaces, embracing digital hotel technology, and building welcoming community areas where workers can unwind.

3. What design trends should hotels pay attention to in 2023?

In addition to more flexible guest spaces, some experts expect sustainable décor, eco-friendly hotel designs, soft and luxurious furniture, and earth tones to dominate hotel design trends in 2023.

Put this list of hotel decoration ideas to good use!

When it’s quiet, spend some time walking around your property, soaking in your surroundings. Would any of the hotel decoration ideas we covered benefit your hotel? Is there room for a fountain? Would the lobby benefit from an art refresher? Identify a few opportunities to liven up your property and review the hotel’s budget to determine how much your property can invest in new decorations.

If you’re not sure which hotel decoration ideas would appeal most to guests in your market, you should find our next post immensely helpful! Next, we examine what guests want from a hotel and how hospitality professionals can give it to them. From business travelers to boomers, we look at various guest demographics and discuss what they care about most when choosing a hotel.

Headshot of Cvent writer Kimberly Campbell

Kim Campbell

Kim is a full-time copy and content writer with many years of experience in the hospitality industry. She entered the hotel world in 2013 as a housekeeping team member and worked her way through various departments before being appointed to Director of Sales. Kim has championed numerous successful sales efforts, revenue strategies, and marketing campaigns — all of which landed her a spot on Hotel Management Magazine’s “Thirty Under 30” list.

Don’t be fooled though; she’s not all business! An avid forest forager, post-apocalyptic fiction fan, and free-sample-fiend, Kim prides herself on being well-rounded.

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