Monday, March 30, 2009

Trendy Monday: Decent Hotel Restaurants

When I think "hotel restaurant," I usually don't think "good food." My impression of the average hotel eating space is a blandly decorated room with an overpriced, overcooked and uninspired menu. Fortunately for travelers, that might be changing.

Last week, commercial design mag, Conract, published an interesting article on the evolution of the hotel dining experience. The money quotes:
"If there is a trend in hotel design, it is toward a greater recognition of the importance of the restaurant and food and beverage experience in defining its competitive position. The restaurant needs to stand on its own as a real restaurant, and increasingly the hotel is highlighting the restaurant as a standard bearer for design, cuisine, and brand expression."

"It used to be conventional wisdom that hotels need a specialty restaurant for fine dining, a three-meal restaurant for basic all-day service and a lobby bar to activate the lobby," he says. "We're seeing a shift toward consolidation to create a more flexible food and beverage venue with greater draw."

Both quotes are from Patrick O'Hare, AIA, IIDA, a California-based interior architect.

While I'm sure this won't hit hotels at every part of the spectrum - it's doubtful that the low-to-mid-range hotels are about to say goodbye to their limp-bacon-and-gross-eggs buffets anytime son - but it's still encouraging. And certainly a reminder of just how much of a priority food has become.

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