“In the fashion world, one day you’re in, the next day you’re out.” This is what supermodel Heidi Klum proclaims during every episode of Project Runway

So goes the average lifespan of the traditional hotel lobby.

At one time, the hotel lobby was known as a grand entrance, a thing of awe to both the traveler and local alike, filled with hustle and bustle. It was a place where business moguls could hammer out a deal, impeccably groomed ladies could share life stories over a drink, or strangers could come together in their travels.

But as with fashion, the grand hotel lobbies had their day. Out went the overstuffed couches and high-backed leather chairs, and in came the sleek, sparse spaces of the “modern age.” The new lobby featured clean lines, uncomfortable bench seating, and modern art—minus the function. Hustle and bustle gave way to a sterile and desolate space.

What’s old is new again

Recently, we’ve seen the hotel lobby transforming again. Major hotel chains such as Marriott, Hyatt and Starwood have been infusing funds into revamping their lobbies.

According to an article in the Washington Business Journal, the new lobby is a social space that multitasks. It is a place where people meet over early coffee, work on a project together over a quick bite or network with associates while enjoying wine or locally-crafted beer. 

The furniture is comfortable and functional, but not fussy. Communal tables are found next to intimate nooks, and Wi-Fi and charging stations abound.

Hotel lobbies promote connection

Studies report that we are all more connected than ever, for longer periods of time. They also show that humans appreciate the feeling of “being a part of” a community.  Thus, the new lobby ideal provides a space where friends and associates can mingle and meet, and the sole business traveler can feel comfortable mixing into the community. In this transformation, once again, people can look to the hotel lobby as a place to spend time and feel a connection to others.