Innovation in Design of Conference Hotels, Resorts & Centers

By Andy Dolce Founder, Chairman & Managing Partner, Dolce International | October 28, 2008

The conference center advantage is now a well-known fact. Thanks to our industry's successful outreach efforts, business clients understand that a conference center offers an unbeatable fusion of luxury amenities and sophisticated technologies. But a subtle, often overlooked element of that formula is now taking a front seat when marketing a facility to conference planners. Design innovation is fast becoming a pertinent, enticing amenity actively sought out for conferences thanks to the dialogue, functionality and the fun it inspires among conference attendees. Some call it "Feng Shui"; we call it thoughtful design. Our clients call it a welcome enhancement of the conference center approach.

A top-notch conference resort creates an environment ideal for interaction between the audience and its leaders, in addition to interpersonal connections among all the attendees. With its fabulous cuisine, exciting array of leisure activities, and creative design, a well-planned conference center will also foster a bond between visitors and the site itself. (That certainly helps keep guests coming back again and again!) But a truly innovative site integrates its environs so that the property itself, its decor, design and its setting, becomes as meaningful to the success of the event as the conference room itself.

Consider, for example, the design at our newest property Dolce La Hulpe Brussels, situated on more than 1,700 acres in the Soignes Forest. The hotel, resort & conference destination is an oasis of contemporary European design. Smart technologies are fused with an open-floor design lending the space an almost loft-like feel. Contemporary furnishings and floor-to-ceiling windows combined with use of materials indigenous to the region stimulate interaction with the stunning natural backdrop. Through this combination, the local environs become active 'players' in the conference itself, flooding the space - even the bedrooms and bathrooms with natural light. Such features transform the entire hotel space into informal meeting areas, where guests can commune with each other as well as with nature. Dolce La Hulpe Brussels exemplifies how new design principles can artfully unify a group throughout the duration of a meeting.

Another elegant example of this principle can be found at Dolce's Aspen Meadows' Meeting Center set to debut in March 2007. Because this chic resort & conference destination complex houses The Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit founded in 1950 dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue by politicians, artists, and social critics worldwide, the facility needed to reflect a seriousness of purpose and spirit. Nestled in the majestic Rocky Mountains, it is a landmark of modernist Bauhaus style. Renowned architect Jeffrey Berkus, in conjunction with famous British artist Andy Goldsworthy, created an environmentally friendly design that incorporates natural materials and cutting-edge building techniques. This unique facility incorporates water, stone floors, even an outdoor fireplace, which invites the Rocky Mountain vistas into virtually every view on the site.

Dolce's colleagues in the industry have also taken up the mantle of thoughtful design. Last year, the trade periodical Hotels cited the White Pond Resort and Training Center in Baiyangdian, China which deploys rich, vivacious colors in its interior decor to "excite the users and get their juices flowing", according to the facility's vice president.

And it should come as no surprise, given the global awareness for the environment, that "green" design has become an increasingly popular trend in conference resort design. It can already be observed in eco-friendly changes in different aspects of a hotel's operations, such as the use of energy efficient lighting, the reduction of water consumption, the use of non-toxic cleaning products, the protection of water quality, and the recycling and participation in other community outreach programs. Conference center companies are consulting with local conservationists on opportunities for saving resources during construction and land preservation. Consider the Salem Conference Center, in Salem, Oregon, which boasts exemplary sustainable design-from the recycled flooring to the efficient cooling system-that exemplifies the ethos and design spirit of the Pacific Northwest.

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.


Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Michael Barbera
Michelle Millar
Frank Meek
Hank Freid
Dennis M. Baker
Mike Handelsman
Steve McKee
Andrew Dyer
John Manderfeld
Daniel B. Lundy
Coming up in May 2019...

Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.