Hotel Lobby

COVID-19 and other health concerns have made everyone more concerned with keeping themselves safe in public spaces. As a result, hotels and other hospitality businesses have been making changes to their public spaces so that guests feel safer. From new lobby layouts to kitchen and dining upgrades, contractors have found themselves retrofitting hotel public spaces in various ways.

Space Layout and Traffic Flow for Guest Safety

Hotels are reconfiguring their lobbies and other public spaces because people feel less comfortable standing too close to people they don’t know. Some hotels have arranged lobby furniture to allow a bit more distance between people.

Contractors are installing several smaller lobby check-in desks to replace a single larger one. With a single long counter, guests might stand close together while checking in with different clerks. Having individual check-in stations keeps space between guests and employees, making everyone feel more comfortable.

In venues that offer a morning breakfast buffet, there might be a series of smaller breakfast pickup stations rather one larger one. Instead of a long breakfast counter where people are elbow to elbow toasting bread and picking up a Danish, hotels need several smaller stations, one for each type of food or beverage, so guests aren’t spending time next to one another. Tables may need to be further apart, and some facilities may opt to create and maintain grab-and-go arrangements with individual boxes or shelving for bagged breakfasts rather than communal dining.

Exercise rooms may also need to adapt. Hotels have been deciding to expand exercise rooms or add screens between equipment to allow for more space or restricted airflow between guests. According to an article published by, “expect to see greater spacing of equipment in the hotel gym, especially stations that require a lot of heavy stationary breathing like ellipticals and treadmills. This equipment area will benefit from screens or strategic placement for the best circulation and air exchange.”

Smaller, confined elevator lobbies feel dangerous and might need to be opened to hallways or other public spaces. Hotels are adding free-standing antibacterial dispensing stations throughout their buildings to help everyone feel safer. They add them to elevator waiting areas to calm people’s fears about using the enclosed space of an elevator.

Antimicrobial Building Materials

Building material manufacturers now routinely add antimicrobial substances like nano-silver and pesticide triclosan to everything from tile to faucets. Traditional materials often contain starches, organic adhesives, and cellulose sugars which provide nutrition to mold. Therefore, builders have chosen antimicrobial materials more frequently in recent years to prevent mold growth, especially in high moisture areas like bathrooms and kitchens. Contractors can replace paint, tile and grout, carpets, and bathroom fixtures with newer versions made with antimicrobial and antibacterial materials.
In addition to preventing mold growth, using these materials, and letting guests know about them, helps them feel safer. If you display signs, for example, letting guests know the bathroom fixtures and countertops are made with antimicrobial materials, they feel more comfortable in their hotel rooms.

Easy-to-Clean Surfaces

Whether a hotel has a full restaurant-style kitchen or just a breakfast preparation area, maintaining clean work and storage surfaces is the goal, especially with recent public health challenges. Contractors are renovating food preparation areas to include surfaces that employees can more easily clean and sanitize. For example, kitchens are being renovated to include less (difficult to clean) grout in backsplashes and less porous, seamless materials like stainless steel for countertops.

In an article about designing a cleaner kitchen, recommends minimizing the amount of grout to clean in backsplashes by choosing larger tiles or solid glass. The article also recommends selecting nonporous materials for counter surfaces. While the article’s subject is home kitchens, commercial food preparation spaces can also follow the advice.

The article recommends selecting “materials such as Corian, quartz, stainless steel, or sintered stone [mineral and stone particles bound together with heat and pressure], which are nonporous, prevent stains, and are easy to wipe clean.” It also talks about replacing grooved or textured surfaces with smooth, seamless materials less likely to trap dirt.

Cleaning staffs work hard to keep carpeted floors clean. Still, some hotels are changing hallway and common area floors to hard tile because they can judge cleanliness more easily with harder, nonporous floor materials. Uncarpeted floors feel cleaner to clients and guests, too. You can’t glance at a carpeted hallway and easily judge its cleanliness like you can with a tiled floor.

Cleaner Air

In addition to adding more traffic space and cleaner surfaces, contractors have been installing high-tech HVAC filter systems in hotels. According to an article on the website for the air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration industry, “The right solutions and proper maintenance can help keep travelers safe”.

According to, hotels have three HVAC options, packaged terminal air conditioner (PTAC), vertical terminal air conditioner (VTAC), and variable refrigerant flow (VRF). The main difference between the three concerns how much outside air is used to refresh inside air, with the VRF providing the most. Because airflow and exchange help reduce the spread of anything, including COVID 19, bringing in outside air helps keep guests safer.

HVAC systems use filters to trap particles in the air; some filters do more than others. For example, contractors install highly efficient HVAC systems with germ trapping Hepa filters for healthcare facilities and scientists’ clean rooms. Some hotels are adding better filters to their systems for cleaner inside air.

Guests Want to Feel Safe

To get people traveling again, the hospitality industry has made changes to public spaces and guest rooms. Contractors have changed lobby layouts, expanded exercise rooms, and revamped dining spaces to help with social distancing. They have also improved food preparation and serving areas to help with cleaning efforts. Some have removed carpet and broken down walls for cleaner, more open public areas like elevator lobbies. Guests want to feel safe in hotels, and the extra space and cleaner appearance help.


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