Luxury Hospitality: Natural Connections

January 31, 2023

Why do we travel? Whether visiting family or friends, crossing a destination off our bucket lists, or escaping our everyday routines, the reasons and motivations remain fairly constant. But, the things we look for while traveling are constantly evolving. Over the last few years, the hospitality space has had to adapt to incredibly complicated – and rapidly changing – dynamics, policies, and dips and spikes in visitors. The pandemic has changed who we are as travelers, and our priorities, too.

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These developments are a frequent topic of discussion at Workshop/APD, especially as our hospitality team works to understand guests’ needs and desires. Currently, top priorities include an ability to connect with nature both on the property and from inside the property’s rooms, as well as a desire to find more intentional interactions and connections with other guests in shared spaces.

We’ve always emphasized a reverence for the natural environment, a driving factor for designs across private residences, hospitality projects or development communities. Though we may be architects and designers with an inclination to build, shape and fill space, our true focus is on harmony between ithe natural and built environment, a balance in which neither has to dominate the other.

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A New Kind of Comfort

We know that the definition of “luxury” has progressed more than anything in recent years. It’s no longer solely about finishes, five-star restaurants and four-figure price tags – it leans heavily on wellness, privacy, one-of-a-kind experiences, and a deep connection to nature. So how can we take our strengths and use them to build the hotels of the future?

Place-Based Programming

Creating a hospitality experience that lives more horizontally than vertically, across a large expanse, means the ability to activate pathways, stairs, fields, walking trails, and any areas meant to connect built spaces. When you’re traveling to relax and spend time in nature, the accommodations themselves can be part of the destination. Outdoor access becomes an amenity in itself, and decentralized accommodations are nestled within the natural landscape.

Public & Private Spaces

Settled in separate bungalows, airstreams, or cabins, guests can retreat to peaceful solitude, screened by thoughtful master planning and landscaping. Private porches and patios, firepits and Adirondack chairs take the shape of outdoor rooms attached to guest quarters. Places where pathways merge, central gathering hubs, and amenity spaces can all be made intentional through design. In today’s world, it’s important to travelers that their interactions with other guests are thoughtfully woven into the larger experience.