Big-brand flags in this sector are borrowing a page from their boutique brethren to up their design ante.
By Matthew Hall
There are now more than 700 Hilton Garden Inns (HGI) around the world. So, when the brand recently unveiled plans for a new set of six region-specific design prototypes for development targets across the globe, it served as a telling barometer of the higher design quotient that’s becoming the norm in this once ho-hum sector.
Compact yet versatile, the retail space within Hilton Garden Inn's just-released "Magnolia" prototype can also be retrofitted into the brand's existing North American locales. Photo: Courtesy of FRCH Design Worldwide
The new HGI prototypes—all bearing a flower-inspired name—were created to help propel the brand’s expansion. “Hilton Garden Inn is on a strong growth trajectory and expanding its global footprint to new countries each year,” John Greenleaf, HGI’s global head, told Boutique Design in an exclusive interview in the aftermath of the prototypes’ unveiling. “To accommodate this global growth and to meet and exceed the needs of developers and guests, we are evolving our approach to prototypes.”
Hilton has plenty of big-brand company in pursuing such growth for their mid-tier brands—and in using design to help accomplish that. First up is a drill-down into some specifics of HGI’s new prototype for North America, followed by three case studies—involving properties representing flags by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Choice Hotels Intl. and Okura Nikko Hotel Management Co. Ltd., respectively—where the interiors are major departures from the cookie-cutter approach that once characterized mid-tier locales.
Hilton Garden Inn North American Prototype
Dubbed “Magnolia,” HGI’s North American prototype—created by Hilton’s in-house team, in collaboration with DiLeonardo Intl.’s DiStudio unit and FRCH Design Worldwide—includes such features as a modular, pod-style check-in area; bright-white public spaces punctuated with colorful and flexible seating arrangements; updated F&B offerings, including a 24/7 retail space (that will also replace the Pavilion Pantry spaces in existing locations within the next few years) and a refreshed breakfast buffet centered around an open-display kitchen for cooked-to-order food; and guest rooms with nature-inspired designs and larger bathrooms.
A variety of seating configurations, along with chairs and pillows sporting vibrant colors, help create an energizing environment ripe for interaction in the new Hilton Garden Inn prototype's lobby. Photo: Courtesy of FRCH Design Worldwide
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