A hotel lobby is more than the face of the hotel. It is the heart and soul as well. It leaves an indelible first impression on guests welcoming them to their new home away from home, waiving them bon voyage at the end of their stay, and providing them with a warm reception upon their return. Such a vitally important space deserves intelligent design, and these architects and designers have risen to the challenge. Whether the lobbies feature record-breaking installations or simply embody hospitality and thoughtful design, the ones on this list are not to be missed.
Standing on the landmark site of Amsterdam’s former Sweelinck Conservatory of Music, the Conservatorium hotel in Amsterdam opened at the end of 2011. This magnificent Neo-Gothic building was originally designed by Daniel Knuttel in the 19th Century and in its new incarnation, it has been transformed into a contemporary luxury lifestyle hotel by the award-winning Italian architect Piero Lissoni.
The lobby pays homage to the building’s impressive history while maintaining a contemporary feel; and serves as the perfect springboard for exploring nearby museums such as the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. Natural light and a touch of old-world historical charm soften the lobby’s sleek, modern lines, dark furniture, and chain accents. conservatoriumhotel.com
The lobby of this adventure-spa hotel features floor-to-ceiling windows and stone floors that leave little separation between you and the surrounding Atacama Desert – bringing the desert’s breathtaking expanses right into your living room.
The rustic, minimalist décor include desert plant life and sharp angles that enhance the lobby’s bare natural ambiance. The lobby is most striking in the morning, when the glass walls flood the room with early morning sunlight and makes for the perfect spot to enjoy yerba mate or coffee before a day of hiking and biking in the desert. tierrahotels.com
Conceived by Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown as part of an urban renewal project to protect Kentucky farmland from Louisville’s suburban sprawl, 21c Museum Hotel Louisville – is part contemporary art museum, part boutique hotel. The hotel, housed in a row of renovated 19th century bourbon and tobacco factories, is infused with artwork at every turn, including site-specific commissions.
The Lobby is home to the interactive Text Rain installation and Virgil Marti’s fluorescent wallpaper commission as well as several of the hotel’s life-size penguins. 21cmuseumhotels.com/louisville
ME by Meliá is the fashion-forward brand of the eponymous Spanish hotel group, designed by the world famous architects Foster and Partners. Guests enter through a sophisticated marble pyramid that soars nine stories into the hotel’s core and instantly immerses them in a surreal space reminiscent of a uber modern space shuttle. Light projections shift and change constantly across the pyramid, illuminating white leather couches and an appropriately fashion-conscious centrepiece, Opus Vivienne Westwood. melia.com