Five hospitality design concepts for 2024 with Zaynib Khan

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Contact Zaynib Khan, Architect Senior Associate Director

As Benoy gears up for another busy year in the hospitality sector, Architect and Senior Design Associate, Zaynib Khan, sets out her five top hotel design concepts for 2024.

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People want visual, physical and emotional impact; they want deep, life-changing experiences that will alter their perception of the world.

Zaynib Khan, Architect Senior Associate Director

The Forbidden Cliffs_A Deserts Secret_Hotel amd Resort_KSA_Opening 2026

Return to romance

Romance is the essence of hospitality, and we’re expecting a big return to romance in hotel design concepts and narratives in the year ahead. Relationships and intimacy are certainly high on the agenda, as people continue to reconnect with one another post-Covid. And as ever, the hotel getaway remains key to rekindling the romantic experience. 

Within hotel guest rooms, we have an opportunity to shape a sense of private space and create truly sensual design. Fireplaces, flowers and spa tubs; romantic music, colour-schemes and views, even a few well-chosen books – all of these features can help to create an intimate ambience. Intimacy also comes through soft, seductive materials you can touch, rich fabrics that encourage tactile, sensory experiences. Room lighting and temperature can be manipulated to provide the perfect romantic conditions, while fragrance can evoke nostalgia and trigger instant emotions, making memorable connections.

As designers, we have a role to play in achieving something deeper. It’s ultimately about telling a love story through interior hotel spaces, creating a sense of allure, mystery, lust and excitement, and dictating how that ambience and tempo change as you move through a hotel. At the heart of it, we have to recognise what the guest is longing for and enable them to rediscover and rekindle that feeling during their stay. 

Brand collaborations

At Benoy, we believe the hospitality sector is entering a new era of hotel-brand partnerships. Bulgari and Amani originally led the way here, but today we’re seeing many more collaborations – large and small – coming into play. And these collaborations are extending beyond fashion into interior design, with fabrics, carpets and bedlinen brands starting to team up with hotel chains. 

These partnerships represent a convergence of lifestyles and values, with synergy between the hotels and brands helping to express and amplify personality. The collaboration between Palazzo Avino and Valentino, for instance, has brought together an iconic destination, architecture and interiors with a luxury fashion house. Likewise, Zuma Mykonos and Louis Vitton. In each case, the hotel reflects the attitude of the brand, helping to bring the brand to life and providing a valuable platform for consumer engagement. And as the brand capitalises on the sense of place and location, the hotel benefits from additional revenue streams. 

As 2024 unfolds, we’ll continue looking for opportunities for new hotel-brand partnerships. As we see it, these relationships are a win-win for all parties involved. They also represent an ongoing evolution within luxury hospitality – one that could even redefine the very notion of luxury itself. 

Experiences of awe and wonder

People are increasingly willing to spend more to get that hospitality wow’ factor. From the projects we’ve been working on at Benoy, particularly in the Middle East, it’s clear that awe and wonder’ are becoming key criteria in hotel selection. People want visual, physical and emotional impact; they want deep, life-changing experiences that will alter their perception of the world. 

As a result, more and more hotel developers are investing in extraordinary design and breathtaking architecture to meet this growing demand. They’re also selecting destinations that are truly remarkable and sometimes extreme – such as deserts, mountaintops, canyons, rainforests – to achieve the greatest impact. For designers working on these projects, amenity innovation is key – an essential part of creating standout features that capitalise on the drama of the location. It’s all about drawing on the uniqueness of scale, and incorporating nature and topographical detail into the central design scheme. Through art, music and artificial components, the designer can also expand their work into the landscape, devising installations to enhance the experience of awe and wonder. 

Heritage travel

We’ve also observed that guests are choosing to visit the lands and locations of their ancestors, with the aim of experiencing life as it was for their forebears generations back. In the briefs we receive, more and more clients are requesting very deliberate storytelling that enables the creation of contemporary hotels deeply rooted in culture. The aim is to leverage local heritage to influence design and evoke a sense of place and past. 

At Benoy, we often take this process a stage further, exploring origins and ancestral wisdom to appeal to younger travellers. Concerned that their ancestral connections are being lost in the modern world, younger generations are keen to engage in cultural practices and rituals, to live and learn from the old ways’. Meditation and breathwork, ancient food habits, farming techniques and craftmanship – there’s huge appetite for these and other meaningful experiences to be incorporated into hospitality. These trends also align with developments in the social wellness sector, which is set to grow by 20% by 2025. 

As heritage travel expands, designers are increasingly engaging with the narrative of time. By connecting guests to a slower and calmer ancestral experience, we’re helping to reduce the tempo of modern life and make time stop. And curiously, it’s a device we believe can transcend to the luxury hotel and urban market. The BoTree in London, for example, is a hotel inspired by the city’s historic village life. It promotes a sense of belonging and connection to a quieter, gentler time defined by family and community. It’s what you might call a conscious luxury’ trend that looks set to develop further. 

Sleep hotels

Society today is more sleep deprived than ever before. And in response to growing awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep, we’re seeing an increase in designated sleep hotels’ promising to help guests recharge their batteries and improve their health. 

Sleep hotels, or sleep retreats, prioritise function and technology over aesthetics, with every design feature informed by science. Design palettes and patterns are stripped back to minimise distraction. Specific light and colour schemes are chosen to optimise sleep potential – for example, through the use of circadian lighting and minimal blue light, which inhibits the body’s production of melatonin. Room temperatures adjust automatically in response to individual needs. Blackout curtains with IoT room controls enable one-touch’ bedside access, while vitamin-infused showers, sleep-friendly amenities and aromas combine to create the prime sleep environment. 

Sleep hotels also enable people to escape a world in which they’re always on’, always connected’, giving them an opportunity to switch off’ in every sense. Guests relinquish control of their technology and timetables, with the hotel setting a strict programme of activities, from morning to night, designed to promote quality sleep. Food and drink is provided at optimum times only, with restricted access to stimulant ingredients, like caffeine. It’s a winning formula; guests check out feeling well-slept and revived, while the hotel benefits from positive reviews and repeat visits. May we all sleep more in 2024!

Get in touch

If you would like to discuss further, please contact Zaynib at zaynib.​khan@​benoy.​com.

Photo credit:

The Forbidden Cliffs A Deserts Secret Hotel and Resort, KSA, Opening 2026’

The Forbidden Cliffs_A Deserts Secret_Hotel amd Resort_KSA_Opening 2026