Friday Inspiration: How to stay inspired and excited about Travel (Series 3)
OPINION PIECE BY MIKI TAKASHIMA (Osaka, JAPAN)
May 1, 2020
When I first started my career in hospitality, I was blessed with the unique opportunity to work with none other than Mr. Philippe Starck and his team in France, for the re-branding and new opening of the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, California - A Luxury Collection Hotel.
For those familiar with Mr. Starck's work, you know it's a"no-brainer" when you talk about his style which defies traditional, conservative designs. It is "normal" to find a life sized horse lamp before you walk into the elevator after you've completed the pleasantries with the front desk staff and check-in process, for example. I have to say - my favorite furniture item is still the Lip Sofa!
At that time, as a budding Project Manager with decent organization skills, I was simply caught up with the 350+ Purchase Orders and fighting for non-delayed installation of the FF&E. I remember crying a few times in my car after work #realtalk.... His team's design specs were demanding and extremely detail oriented, and the fact that most of the custom designed furniture and intricate fixtures were to be ordered from various countries in Europe and Asia, it was more than a learning experience for a hospitality management student, working in a foreign country, right after graduation.
There are many aspects of a hotel that excite me, whether I'm actually traveling there or just imagining and planning that upcoming trip. I believe the design of the public space makes or breaks the first impression of the guest entering the hotel, and the flow to the front desk should be inviting and even exciting! Personally, I enjoy creative spaces - which is why I am a huge fan of the W brand... The W Barcelona's waiting area uses bright colors, is inviting because there is ample room to move around, inspires fun, utilizes natural lighting and interesting light fixtures... (An upcoming opinion piece shall be on my "W" journey.)
I've already lightly touched upon two lines of hotel brands so far, the Luxury Collection and the W hotel. The 3rd and last hotel brand I want to visit is the Westin brand. Although I haven't been able to stay at many Westin hotels, I secretly hope that this particular arm of the Marriott Bonvoy family expand in the future. This is because they place much importance on travel wellness, and staying healthy while traveling.
Perhaps I'm thinking more in the context of business travel, where you want to perform your best during a client presentation in a foreign country, for instance. The hotel is there to help you grab a fresh juice in the morning or at night when you arrive late from the airport. The guestrooms are equipped with yoga mats and places gentle reminders to say, "maybe you should take a moment to stretch your body"....
I am blessed with friends who are well-traveled and know the hotel and tourism industry quite well. While we are still in the midst of trying to figure out what the impact of Covid-19 is to this massive industry, I am excited that one day I will have the privilege to visit another country other than my own, to get inspired and think outside the box.
What will you do while you're staying in?