Top 4 Must Haves to Stay Inspired at Design Hotels

Top 4 Must-Haves to Stay Inspired at Design Hotels:

Mocinno International, the hospitality management company is all about understanding the market. Karen LeBlanc, or also called the Design Tourist, is an industry colleague who translates market knowledge to trends, that we use to implement in co-operation with our partners and clients. This guest blog post is a true inspiration for all in the hospitality industry!

3.Hotel Decor









Photo caption: Scorpios Hotel in Mykonos, Greece Photo credit: Design Hotels

Today’s traveler is looking for authentic experiences that summon creative muses and connect with local culture, cuisine, art and craft. This quest to quench the creative soul is giving rise to the “design hotel” —original accommodations that seamlessly blend into the local social and cultural fabric.

PalazzinaG Hotel









Photo credit: PalazzinaG Hotel in Venice Italy. Photo credit: Design Hotels

No longer content to stay in cookie-cutter chain hotels absent a local identity or sense of place, travelers are seeking out authentic accommodations such as  Airbnb, ApartHotels and Boutique hotels. As a Design Tourist, I travel to ignite my imagination, discover new ideas and return home inspired in all areas—work, home and play. The place I choose to stay is essential to my experiential travel itinerary.  When I’m planning my next stay at a true design hotel, I refer to my list of Top 4Stay Inspired Must-Haves :

1. Locally Sourced Room Amenities:




















Soaps, shampoos and toiletries from local vendors, artisans and suppliers are destination ambassadors evoking the essence of local creativity, culture and commerce.  When I stay at a hotel that provides artisanal accoutrements, I appreciate the opportunity to sample and discover local products better yet, purchase these products through the convenience of a hotel design store.

1.Hotel Decor


















A Design Hotel that builds local partnerships with brands and suppliers also creates goodwill with guests whether it’s providing artisan soaps, woven hand towels or indigenous art and craft on the walls.

2. Decor with a Sense of Place:

2.Hotel Decor


















There is a buzzword in the hospitality design industry known as “the activated lobby.” It means that upon arrival, guests immediately experience the vibe of the city.

4.G Rough Hotel









Photo caption:  G-Rough Hotel is a luxury 5 star design hotel in Rome Photo credit: Design Hotels

Hospitality Interior Designer Gary Inman, VP of Hospitality Bakervill,  says the lobby is the main storyteller. “To activate the lobby, we encode it with imagery whether it’s art or objects, perhaps a locally woven textile piece draped over a sofa. Our design team thinks through every little detail so that we are capturing the color palette, the artistry, the spirit of place,” says Imman, who has designed lifestyle boutique hotels including Autograph properties for the Marriott brand and Curio hotels with Hilton.

5.The Idol Hotel Paris









Photo caption: An Ode to the Musicality of Design guides the look and vibe of  the Idol Hotel, Paris located on rue d’Edimbourg, near the Grands Magasins district, historically populated by musical instrument makers. The Idol Hotel captures the essence of its locale with rooms inspired by disco and jazz album covers and a jazz club ambiance in the lounge and public spaces.

6.G Rough Hotel Rome

Photo caption: G-Rough Hotel is a luxury 5 star design hotel in Rome is a living museum celebrating Italian Designers of the 40s, 50s and 60s such as Gio Ponti, Ico Parisi, and Silvio Cavatorta. The décor and ambiance is rooted in peninsular culture of Italy featuring 10 suites over 5 floors. Photo credit: Design Hotels

Simply put—a design hotel tells the story of a destination through art, accessories, accoutrements, furnishings, fixtures and food.

7. The Idol Hotel Paris









Photo caption: Serene, glowing blue hues beckon sleep in this work of art room at Idol Hotel, Paris. Interior Designer: Julie Gauthron. Photo Credit: Idol Hotel

As a decorator, I will let you in on a little secret—many home decor trends are rooted in boutique hotel decor.  From famous name interior designers to DIYers, boutique hotels are a source of fresh ideas.

8.Blakes Hotel London









Photo caption: Blakes Hotel London—each room has a distinct character reflecting London’s regal history and reputation as a fashion and design capital. Pictured here is the Cardinal suite in deep shades of red and gold surrounded by antiques and anchored by a four poster bed draped in opulent fabrics Photo credit: Design Hotels


9. Downtown Hotel Mexico









Photo caption:  Downtown Hotel  in Mexico City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site housed in a 17th century Colonial style building that references local, indigenous culture in a mashup of industrial and bohemian chic styles. Photo credit: Design Hotels

One of the most forward-thinking Design Hotels that really gets the concept of Design Tourism is The Design Play Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan. (Taipei is the 2016 World Design Capital and a must see for Design Travelers)  This 5 room hotel connects guests to Taiwan’s local design culture through interactive experiences with the design elements and furnishings in each of the four curated rooms. There is also a 5th room that invites you to pick and choose the layout of design products and furnishings in your room from the hotel’s website.

10. Design Play Hotel Taipei






Photo caption:  Design Play Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan

Design Play Hotel works more than 80 local designers/design brands to furnish the rooms and offers their designs for sale through the hotel’s online store.

11. Design Play Hotel Taipei






Photo caption:  Design Play Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan

12. Design Play Hotel Taipei






Photo caption:  Design Play Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan

3. Cultural Cuisine:

When I travel, I like to experience the local flavors of a region, the native dishes that define a culture. I seek out such culinary adventures in my hotel as well as local restaurants so it’s important that my hotel have authentic dining experiences that champion local cuisine.

13 Local flavors London









14. Town Hall Hotel









Photo caption: restaurant in London’s Town Hall Hotel & Apartments. Photo credit: Design Hotel

Many of today’s travelers, myself included, identify themselves as foodies. We appreciate cultural cuisine, food fusions and the native rituals of eating, and sharing of meals.

16. St London Tableware
















Hotels that serve dishes from locally sourced ingredients and recipes that reflect local cuisine connect guests to their surroundings viscerally. Design hotels that offer culinary adventures such as cooking classes for guests or visits to local farms to pick fruit or vegetables for the “Farm-to-Table” experience cater to design travelers and foodies.

4. Original Experiences:

17 Glass Hill Jewelry shop










Photo caption: At Grass Hill Jewelry Shop in Taipei, visitors can meet metalworking craftsmen and learn the craft of metalworking at its workshops.

As a Design Tourist, I look to my hotel to present opportunities to interact with local artists, artisans and craftspeople whether it be a visit to an artist’s studio or perhaps chance to apprentice in a workshop learning the craft of handmade arts.

18 In Bloom Textile shop







Photo caption: This textile shop, InBloom, tells Taiwan’s story through textile printing as visitors can take hands-on classes and learn about printing, pattern design and color arrangement.

Instead of traditional tourist activities, I want more localized activities— meaningful and enriching experiences that go beyond product and service alone. Some of these one-of-a-kind, memorable experiences I’ve discovered include “In Residence” Artist Programs where the hotel displays art and hosts workshops by local artisans and artists.

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Karen LeBlanc

Bio: Karen LeBlanc is host of The Design Tourist series that explores stylish hotels and destinations known for their culture, creativity and iconic design contributions—all while discovering unique design finds and Products. In each episode, viewers experience one-of-a- kind hotels that connect with local culture, cuisine, craft, and history through design.  For a global dose of design inspiration, follow the travels of The Design Tourist by subscribing to the channel and blog Subscribe to Karen’s experiences on Youtube