The Innovation Rooms
Designed in-house by Paul Bevis
Owned by Hilton International
Conceived as an experiment which, if successful, will roll out in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the Innovation Rooms aim to satisfy every business traveller’s whim. To be launched at the end of March by the Hilton International chain, the four prototypes are a variation of a “zoned business room”.
The zones consist of: a luxury four-piece bathroom, a business workstation study area and a bedroom/ relaxation area. Each room has a technology, business effective, inner calm and relaxation theme. Although elements overlap, each room represents a specific lifestyle.
According to Simon Dannatt, chief executive of strategic marketing consultancy Kae, which has worked closely on the concept, the rooms “are a test case for the future, to find out what the Hilton customer will want in the future rather than at present”. To achieve this vision, Hilton has created an “innovation hub”, a team comprising consumers, designers, futurologists and technologists which has spent two years researching the tastes of customers and then carried out tests on focus groups. “The key component to each room is the zoning concept,” explains Dannat. Each room has a social and a technological area which are separate but interconnected. For example, in two of the rooms, the glass bathroom walls can be switched electronically to either opaque or transparent, allowing either privacy or fluidity between areas.
The technology room offers a voice-activated or hand-held box with a touch-sensitive screen which controls the extensive range of electronics in the room. Gadgets range from a large plasma screen with a DVD player to a PlayStation 2 and hi-fi. The business effectiveness room recreates an office environment, while differentiating it from the sleeping area. A separate study area with complete business facilities ensures that guests can remote work in a comfortable environment.
The inner calm room is designed to help the customer unwind after a hard day, with aromatherapy products, yoga videos, books on relaxation techniques and controllable mood lighting. Finally, the relaxation room – a popular choice – offers all of the above benefits, plus a heated shiatsu massage lounger.