HAVE you ever wondered how much thought goes into the design of a hotel room?

FIRST up there are basic things like the size and shape of the space, which are the domain of the architect drawing up the plans, before the interior designer considers important issues like the selection and placement of furniture.

Colours must be considered, fabrics ordered, carpets commissioned, tiles selected, light fixtures designed and that’s before the technology wizards move in to create the devices that let guests play their own music via Bluetooth and unlock their suite door with an app on their smartphone.

There are thousands of decisions for architects, designers and hotel managers to make long before the first guest walks through the front door.

Marriott International’s head of global design services Glenn Wilson, who works across the JW Marriott and Marriott brand, says that while every detail of a hotel room is carefully considered the most thought is put into making the space a haven for slumbering.


The guest-suite guru says that while selecting the perfect mattress is important “it’s also critical to ensure the room is designed to allow it to be completely dark”.

“This is especially critical with the extensive international travel of today, people coming in from every time zone and many need to sleep during the day,” she says.

“The window treatments we design must always be a balance of what’s on-trend but fabricated in a way to allow the outside light to be completely blacked out.

“The focus also extends to the layout and the interior architectural planning of the room and, for example, more open bathrooms have been a direction for some time now but with this comes many considerations regarding light bleed into the room at night.”

Wilson says Marriott is always asking guests what they want from a mattress and she compliments that bed foundation with soft sheets that resist pilling and a selection of pillows to guarantee there’s always an option that caters to an individual traveller’s preferences.


Another important aspect is temperature and Marriott elects to install individual controls in each guest room.

“Guests can then set the temperature to exactly what is most comfortable for them to sleep and this is not a beautiful design detail we plan but it’s of the utmost importance to a good night’s sleep,” she says.

“We also have strict standards on acceptable noise levels and transfer and with the new direction of hard-surface flooring in the guest rooms we have had to relook at testing methods, requirements and standards to ensure this design direction didn’t create a noise issue in our rooms.”

So the next time you’re drifting off the sleep in a hotel room take a moment, if you can fight the Sand Man for a few extra seconds, to consider all the things that have been done to guarantee a good dose of shut-eye.

When it comes to hotels, what makes a sleep-friendly room?

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