Never discount the importance of a first impression. As public speakers and salesmen know, the first 7 seconds in which you meet someone are make or break; get off on the wrong foot and you’re going to struggle to come across as the warm and welcoming person you no doubt are.
The same can be said for hotels. Walk inside a grandiose hotel lobby with a wow factor, and you’re in for a great stay, perhaps even a return visit.
However, find cobwebs on the walls and a concierge twiddling his thumbs… well you get the picture. With that 7 second rule mentioned above floating in every top hoteliers mind, it’s understandable that a lot of thought is put into designing the perfect hotel lobby, and listed below is a selection of some of their best efforts.
Four Seasons Hotel George V – Paris
The Four Seasons’ ever changing lobby is an unofficial attraction in Paris. Every month, 9000 flowers are brought in from Holland, placed in the care of Artistic Director Jeff Leatham and crafted into something new. Essential to the George V’s spirit, the display ensures that no two stays at the hotel is the same. The only constant is perfection. Even if you haven’t booked a room for the night (and you’d be missing out) it’s impossible not to pop in for a peak at the beautiful display.
Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo’s lobby is that it’s on the 38th floor of the building. That leads to some expectations of course, but what you’ll see will far surpass what you have in mind. The hotel towers over the Nihonbashi district, and on clear days, you can even catch a glimpse of the snow capped peaks of Mount Fuji (which by the way is over 140 km away). The view makes the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo one of the only hotels in the world where waking up early just to sit in the lobby is something to add on your to do list of activities.
Phulay Bay Ritz, a Ritz Carlton Reserve – Thailand
We’ve talked about the many wow factors at the Phulay Bay, a Ritz Carlton Reserve before, but the reserve’s unique lobby bears mentioning as well. Coming across the grandiose welcome pavilion for the first time is a borderline spiritual experience (or at least it aims to be) and for maximum effect, it’s best to check in at dusk. At the center of a square-shaped artificial pond stands the temple like structure. To get there you’ll have to navigate a narrow candlelit stone walkway surrounding the pond. Once there, you’re greeted by smiling attendants and ushered down one of the corridors running off to the sides of the pavilion at the end of which awaits a beach buggy and staff member ready to whisk you off to your hotel room. It’s just like stepping into a portal to another world.
The Claridge’s – London
One of the most beautiful and prestigious hotels in our collection (if not the world) the Claridge’s black and white marble lobby is a first taste of the grandeur one expects to find in this 204 year old establishment. Palatial is the best way to describe it and the hotel’s unique atmosphere will stop you in your tracks even if you’ve used up a fair few of your luxury travel miles. In our opinion, the best time to walk in is during the buzzing atmosphere of afternoon tea while it’s being served in the Foyer Room which can be seen just past the lobby.
Hotel Imperial – Vienna
The Hotel Imperial Vienna was originally built as the home of Prince Von Wurttemberg. And as you’d expect from the former home of a royal, every inch of the hotel is simply amazing; none more so than its lobby.
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi
The UAE is abound with top notch luxury hotels and for an immediate wow factor the minute you step in, look no further than the St Regis Abu Dhabi’s hotel lobby. Here, two grandiose bronze banister staircases are lit by glittering crystal chandeliers hanging from the vaulted ceiling, and everywhere you look, are motifs of diamonds, a favorite of Caroline Astor, mother of St Regis founder John Jacob Astor IV.
The Rosewood London
It’s not always the grandeur of a lobby that gets your attention. Sometimes, it’s the feel and the Rosewood London has plenty of that. The stylish contemporary lobby oozes cool and sophistication in a way that few hotels can. It’s a mood lighting, dark woods and tiled flooring affair that will have you coming back again and again for another taste.