Coolest Hotel Lobbies
Check in and check out these memorable hotel entrances from
Anguilla to Paris.
It’s evening when you arrive at your hotel. The doorman
helps you with your bags as you enter the lobby. But instead of a reception
area, you walk into a surreal campground fantasy—complete with a flowing
stream, the glow of volcanic stone fire pits, and twinkling stars in the open
night sky. Welcome to La Purificadora in historic Puebla, Mexico.
Forget tufted armchairs and stuffy flower arrangements. Hotels
all around the world, from Budapest to Shanghai, are
placing paramount importance on their lobbies, creating ultra-cool entrances
intended to visually awe and transport guests when they first arrive—and linger
in the mind long after they leave.
“The lobby is the first chapter in the story of your
experience at the hotel. The design has to be incredibly thoughtful and also
beautiful,” says star designer Kelly Wearstler, known for her high-drama color
schemes. “Everything happens there. You arrive, you meet, you leave all through
the lobby. It’s one of the souls of the hotel.”
Rafael Micha, a partner in Grupo Habita, the group behind La
Purificadora and other super-hip Mexican properties like Condesa DF in
Mexico City, calls the lobby the “focal point” of its hotels.
The hotels on our list have enlisted starchitects, star
designers, and in one instance, a reluctant artist-turned-designer to provide
their singular vision of what a lobby should be—whether an ingenious riff on
the existing DNA of a property and its sense of place or an entirely
over-the-top fairyland fantasy.
Wearstler debunked any stereotypical notions of what an
island resort should look like in her dramatic lobby for the Viceroy Anguilla.
“I wanted it to be rich and dark as a respite from the sun,” she says, shunning
pastels in favor of browns and grays to create a cool refuge for guests after a
day at the beach.
For the lobby at the Waterhouse
at South Bund in Shanghai,
architects Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu blurred the notions of public and private
(look up from the reception desk and you’ll see straight into Room #17, an
exhibitionist’s dream booking).
Visionary Dutch designer Marcel Wanders claims he took Sleeping Beauty’s castle
as inspiration for the Mondrian Miami.
His fantastical-looking lobby has giant brass bell-shaped lights, oversize
bright white plaster columns, and a grand black floating staircase.
So next time you check into a hotel, or just pass through en
route to the bar, make sure to soak it all in.