First impressions count, and none more so than for the lobbies of luxury hotels. They set the tone for what we can expect from our stay. Hotel lobbies have always been the epicenter of glamour and society, and hoteliers have again come to place more importance on the space by taking extra care to hire the world’s best interior architects and commission unique works. Not just a passageway, the lobby is a place to linger, partake in a Negroni, and get transported into a different world. Here, we’ve put together a list of our favorite current lobby designs.
W Hotel: Verbier, Switzerland
Designed by Dutch-based development company Concrete, the W Hotel in Verbier brings a touch of New York-glamour to the Swiss ski resort. The lobby’s giant staircase, which is illuminated in deep red light at night, features a signal red tunnel that leads inside the mountain to the entrance of W’s exclusive Carve Bar.
RedDot Hotel: Taichung City, Taiwan
Steven Wu and Wang Pe-Jen are the architects behind the transformation of this 36-year old hotel. The playful aesthetic adopted by the duo is perfectly exemplified by the stainless steel tube slide, which spirals down from the second floor to the first floor lobby.
Amangiri Resort, Utah
Esteemed architects Rick Joy, Marwan Al-Sayed, and Wendell Burnette designed the Amangiri Resort in Canyon Point, Utah, near the border of Arizona. A favorite of Carmen Busquets, the lobby design, like much of the resort, is constructed from exposed natural materials and looks out onto the desert.
Hudson Hotel: New York, USA
This former YMCA hostel was transformed by hotelier Ian Schrager and architect Philippe Starck. Of its many design features, the 40ft high brick lobby with its two-story glass ceiling encased in ivy is a favorite talking point.
Ice Hotel: Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
Constructed from ice from the River Torne, this hotel, which is located 200km north of the Arctic Circle, opens annually from December to April. It boasts a dramatic lobby design that together with the main building itself, is rebuilt each year.
Byblos Art Hotel: Verona, Italy
This 16th century Veronese Renaissance villa was renovated by the celebrated designer Alessandro Mendini and transformed into a luxury hotel and contemporary art gallery. The eclectic mix of works that grace the lobby, by the likes of by Mark Quinn, Anish Kapoor and Damien Hirst, form part of the colorful, permanent art collection on display throughout the hotel.
Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace: Budapest, Hungary
Previously an apartment complex during Hungarian Communist rule, the lobby of this now Art Nouveau hotel is flooded with light from the stained-glass windows and houses a custom-designed chandelier created from hundreds of hand-shaped crystal leaves. The lobby’s flooring is no less ornate, and is covered with over one million mosaic tiles.
Veranda Resort & Spa: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Located in the hills of northern Thailand, this boutique retreat has an open-air reception that sets the scene perfectly for guests seeking a relaxing, rejuvenating escape.
Hotel Icon: Kowloon, Hong Kong
French botanist and artist Patrick Blanc designed the indoor vertical garden that graces the lobby of this hotel. Consisting of numerous native plants, the feature, which measures 18m high and covers an area of 230m², adds a touch of nature to the city’s urban landscape.
ME London: London, United Kingdom
Designed by world-renowned architects Foster and Partners, the lobby of this uniquely contemporary hotel offers guests a unique and immersive check-in experience. The reception area is housed within a pyramid-like space topped by a glass roof, and a variety of graphics are projected onto the walls nightly, from floating jellyfish to starscapes.
Fusing the best of form and function, these thoughtfully designed, often palatial spaces tend to stay with us long after we leave, enticing us back for another visit.