How Designers at the Westin Hotel Approach Sleep
It may seem like it would be easy to design the interior of a hotel room. All you need is a bed, some furniture pieces, and a few lamps, right? It’s actually a lot more involved than that. “We don’t have full control over where everything is placed hotel rooms, but we try to consider as much as we can when designing them,” says Erin Hoover, vice president of global brand design for Westin, Sheraton, and Le Meridien hotels.
For example, Westin rooms incorporate something known as biophilic design. The philosophy is focused in the belief that a connection to nature promotes well-being. It’s used by interior designers to create an environment that’s healthy and encourages sleep. “One of the biophilic design elements is called natural analog,” says Hoover. “It’s the notion that images of things found in nature—obvious things like trees but also less-obvious things like fractal patterns, which are the patterns seen in leaves or dragonfly wings—help you feel more relaxed.” You’ll see those elements in Westin rooms in drapery patterns, carpeting, and other textiles, which may help you wind down when you’re preparing for bed.
“At Westin, we went with a white tea scent. Travel is stressful and we want people to walk in, exhale, and think about how lovely the lobby smells.”
There are also tricks that hotel designers use in the lobbies to put you in a calm state of mind from the moment that you enter the hotel. “We have custom scents in the public spaces,” says Hoover.
Westin designers also pay close attention to the lightness and darkness in the room. “We design draperies to be 100 percent blackout,” says Hoover. “That way, if you aren’t in your normal time zone while traveling, you’re still able to sleep well.” And Hoover also knows that many travelers end up sharing the hotel room, which inspired the hotel’s
latest bedside lighting feature. “It used to be that you had a bedside lamp, but that just makes the whole bed area lit. Now there are mounted LED reading lights on each side,” says Hoover. “This means that you can focus the light on your book and not disrupt the person sleeping in the bed next to you.”