Communal spaces like hotel lobbies offer unique opportunities for business, relaxation, and socializing, and how they're designed can play a significant role in the overall success of a hotel. That's why we’ve compiled some of the world’s most creative hotel lobby ideas for you to explore.
However, keep in mind that every hotel is unique, and that the purpose of highlighting these examples isn't to encourage imitation. Rather, it's to share inspiration and spark ideas to help create a hotel lobby that's truly unique to your property/properties. But first, let's take a look at the importance of lobbies as a whole.
What's the point of a hotel lobby?
At its highest level, the main purpose of a hotel lobby is to give guests a central hub — an area in which they can check in and out, meet with friends and family, get some work done, or simply relax. It's there to both give guests a first impression of how their experience at a property is going to go and act as an area they know they'll feel comfortable in during the duration of their stay.
At the very least, every hotel lobby should have a front desk with employees to respond to guest inquiries, multiple places for guests to sit and gather comfortably, and WiFi access. It should also be in close proximity to a bathroom and a place where guests can get refreshments. However, hotel lobbies often go well beyond the basics. From mood-enhancing lighting to the implementation of gift shops that double as art galleries, a hotel lobby has the power to make or break the customer experience.
In fact, according to a study submitted to Texas Tech University, over 60% of survey respondents said that their decision to return to a hotel would be impacted either moderately or extremely by the lobby, while less than 5% of respondents said it would have no impact.
Explore 21 hotel lobby ideas from real properties across the world:
Here are some top-tier examples of hotel lobbies from all over the world. Discover what makes them great and how they do it to get inspired for your own hotel lobby ideas.
1. Be bold in your hotel lobby design.
The Bowery Hotel in New York City has a color scheme dominated by reds, browns, and golds, adding drama and glamour to the space. The lobby is so memorable that it was described as "almost, well, perfect," in a review published on Oyster.com.
"With its Gothic arched fireplace, dark wood-slatted ceiling, faded oriental rugs, shabby-chic vintage (and faux-vintage) furniture, and wrought-iron detailing, the lobby of the Bowery Hotel is unlike any other in New York," reads the review. "The atmosphere is darkly brooding and richly nostalgic; you wouldn't be surprised to see the dandified thug played by Daniel Day-Louis in 'Gangs of New York' stroll past velvet couches and tasseled brocade foot stolls, examine one of the strategically placed peacock feathers, and settle in to one of the leather club chairs with brass nailhead trim."
2. Put in palm trees.
Add potted versions or plant them in the ground of your courtyard if you have an indoor/outdoor floor plan like Raffles Singapore does. Try silk palm trees if you don’t have enough natural light available inside. If palm trees don't make sense for your location, consider greenery that does. Not only do trees and plants look great in a hotel lobby, but they can impact guests' moods, too. Studies have shown that plants lead to stress reduction, higher productivity, greater quality of life, and much more.
3. Use authentic or cultural traditions.
The hotel lobby inside Tokyo's Onsen Ryokan Yuen Shinjuku slowly transitions guests from the modern world outside to an authentic world inside. Use moody lighting, transitional furniture, and soundscape filtering or music to capture the old world style of Japan (or any other culture) like they did by comparing the world outside the front doors to the world you’ve created inside, giving anyone who enters the lobby an immediate sense of change.
4. Include a library.
Hotel Eden in Rome offers a library complete with writing tables, antique lamps, and leather armchairs for guests who want to relax by the fire and turn some pages. Offer books that go with your hotel’s theme and location. For example, add minimalist French cookbooks for a cottagecore themed lobby or California art and history books if you’re in a state-certified historic building.
5. Add optical illusions.
Mopheus in Macau has some of the most stunning architecture we've ever seen, and the lobby is no different, filled with curvy glass windows, artistic metal overlays, and much more.
"The lobby is majestic and gives this impression of breathtaking emptiness," one reviewer wrote on Tripadvisor. "I hope you're not afraid of height as the lifts are open to lobby when going up/down; it is a very high building so it is a very impressive sensation."
6. Choose luxe furniture.
One of Hemingway’s favorite spots, Country Club Lima, uses antique furniture to set the tone for hotel lobby guests. According to Booking.com, the hotel has more than 300 pieces of art and furniture of the Pedro de Osma Museum.
Furniture is one of the most important aspects of your lobby, so consider thrifting and restoring original pieces to maximize authenticity.
7. Try marble for walls and floors.
The Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong embraces opulence with glittering chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling marble that reflects them. Of the thousands of 5-star Tripadvisor reviews of the property, hundreds mention the lobby specifically.
"I love the black marble with the letter M on the wall, very subtle yet symbolic for the hotel," wrote on reviewer.
"The entire hotel is beautifully appointed. Gorgeous art work, such timeless elegance and style. The most beautiful marble is used throughout the premises," wrote another.
8. Match the decor of your lobby to your elevator.
The Principe di Savoia leans into glamour with velvet textures and gold accents both inside their hotel lobby and within their elevators. Create a cohesive experience for guests by matching the two spaces.
9. Choose bistro seating.
Instead of groupings of sofas paired with armchairs and coffee tables, the Plaza Athénée has chosen to line their long entryway with identical bistro sets. Add some visual appeal with matching seating that mirrors itself down the length of your lobby.
10. Add an oversized focal point.
Corinthia Hotel’s globe-shaped focal point is large and in charge, taking guests’ breath away as they enter. Even if you can’t hang anything from the ceiling, you can use an oversized Christmas tree, animal sculpture, or even a flower arrangement to wow new arrivals.
11. Try live music.
Aman Tokyo hosts a local musician in their hotel lobby to help set the mood. Consider partnering with artists who match your aesthetic and know how to play atmospheric tunes that don’t distract from the check-in process.
12. Highlight floral arrangements.
The Four Seasons in Paris uses large rectangular vases with huge bouquets of flowers to decorate their lobby space for added fragrance and romance. Choose to place small bouquets on every table or use one oversized arrangement in the center of the lobby.
13. Use a DJ booth.
If relaxing live music is too low-key for your hotel, encourage guests to get in the party mood with an upscale DJ booth near the edge of the lobby. Clear space for some dancing at night like Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, Florida does. Host live events and use Cvent to boost group sales by advertising artists or dance competitions.
14. Offer binoculars or telescopes.
If your hotel lobby is near the top floor like The St. Regis in Shenzhen, China, consider installing binoculars so guests can check out the view. Or, if you have safe rooftop access, add stargazing to your list of hotel amenity ideas.
15. Opt for neutrals.
Take advantage of this popular color palette by incorporating plenty of white, beige, and “bleige” into your hotel lobby design scheme. Take inspiration from the Barcelona location of Mandarin Oriental by using these shades in the carpeting, decor, and furniture.
16. Spotlight the view.
The Cuixmala in Mexico keeps their hotel lobby simple enough to let their beautiful waterfront view take center stage in their design. Take inspiration from this idea by keeping your walls simple (white or beige works well) and creating a floorplan that encourages an indoor/outdoor lifestyle when visiting the space.
17. Go with gold.
Feana in Miami uses floor-to-ceiling strips of gold along with gold accents and decor pieces to bring this luxurious look to life. Consider changing visible hardware to gold or install artwork that matches this shiny hue. Similar to plants and trees, gold can have a positive effect on how your guests feel, too.
18. Add velvet and fringe.
The NoMad Los Angeles honors Old Hollywood glamour with ottomans, armchairs, and even coffee tables that sport velvet fabrics and swinging fringe. Go bold like they did by choosing an accent color (they used green) for everything that has these two elements.
19. Use a kaleidoscope pattern.
In keeping with local style, the La Mamounia, Marrakech uses a mix of varying black and white patterns on the floors, walls, and columns. Create your own Instagram-worthy hotel lobby by mixing bright patterns or repeating themes across most of the space.
20. Add homey layouts.
The Chiltern Firehouse has created a hotel lobby that feels like a private living room and not a public space. Their layout creates a variety of conversation spaces and their plush couch choices and overstuffed armchairs are stylish yet familiar.
21. Layer art deco rugs.
The Proper Hotel in San Francisco uses a variety of stylish rugs to complement their eclectic furniture mix. Get the look by layering flatweave rugs with plush, fluffer ones or pairing textured solids with bright, bold designs.
Maximize your space with these hotel lobby ideas!
The hotel industry is a competitive space and there’s a lot of room to grow when it comes to lobby design and usage. Remember to include technology in your design to truly modernize your hotel lobby and event spaces, as long as it makes sense. And, no matter which of these creative hotel lobby ideas you look to for inspiration, remember to start by looking at the space you have, evaluating what could use improvement, and choosing solutions over outcomes when making design choices.