First impressions count, they say. If this is true with people, why shouldn't it also be valid for hotels? The lobby is the first interior space you notice upon entering a hotel. Opulent or futuristic, creative or classic, grand scale or not, these lobbies reveal - to a certain extent - the ambiance that will surround you throughout the building. Here are ten of our favourite hotel lobbies around the world.
So you want to book a hotel room for an important business trip or for a relaxing family vacation. We're betting you always consider one or more of the following aspects before taking the decision: the hotel's proximity to the airport or the financial district, its architecture, kids or business facilities, room amenities, restaurants, bars and lounges, spa features, etc. Have we forgotten something? Oh, yes, the lobby. Actually, we didn't mention it on purpose because not many people think about a hotel's lobby when making their reservation.
Next time you book a hotel think about the glitz and glory of the entryway as there are some outstanding lobbies scattered around the globe. Lobbies worth seeing even if you are not a guest of that hotel or resort.
However, some people put lobbies among the first things on their list when designing a hotel. You've guessed it - the architects. After the shape of the building and exterior elements, the lobby is their second chance of wow-ing the guests once again. It is the part of the hotel which can elicit, alternately, a sigh of wonder or an uncomfortable feeling. Take, for example, Le Meurice in Paris. When asked to update the 19th century building, the renowned designer Philippe Starck took inspiration from Salvador Dali - one of the hotel’s famous regulars, who even spent at least a full month per year in residence there.
Ciragan Palace Kempinski - Istanbul, Turkey
One of Istanbul's most spectacular hotels, Ciragan Palace Kempinski is located on the European shores of the Bosphorus. The "palace" designation is no coincidence as the hotel was once the royal residence of sultans, in the 1800s. Nowadays, this five star hotel welcomes guests with an entrance which retains a distinctive royal atmosphere and offers hard to forget views of the Bosphorus. The hotel's foyer features lush Persian rugs and Ottoman tilework on the walls as it opens into a stunning multi-level atrium with wooden cages separating the floors. www.kempinski.com/en/istanbul
Armani Hotel - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Soaring high above Downtown Dubai in the iconic Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, Armani Hotel Dubai is the world’s first hotel designed and developed by Giorgio Armani. Sophisticated colors, clean lines and unique textures define the hotel's interior, with every physical detail - from the soaring arches in the lobby to the bathroom soaps in each room - designed by Armani himself. As they exit the limo and enter the hotel, guests will be amazed by the grand-scale lobby, a perfect addition to the daring architecture of Burj Khalifa. A signature element of the lobby, the towering bronze arches conjoined to form a cocoon-shaped canopy can also be found in the hotel's logo. Minimalist detailing adds an understated and refined elegance to the lobby, inviting guests and visitors alike to explore further inside. www.dubai.armanihotels.com
Four Seasons Gresham Palace - Budapest, Hungary
Centrally located at the end of the renowned Chain Bridge, with panoramic views of the Danube and the hills of Buda, Gresham Palace - which houses the Four Seasons hotel in Budapest - was built in 1906. Back then, the building was a masterpiece of the Art Nouveau style. After serving as an apartment building, the structure has been carefully restored to its former beauty. In true Four Seasons style, the hotel's lobby is particularly impressive, its dimensions dwarfing the rest of the interior elements. It features a soaring glass cupola, a bespoke chandelier, stained glass and a lobby floor with more than one million mosaic tiles. www.fourseasons.com/budapest
Le Meurice - Paris, France
Known as "The Hotel of Kings" and one of France's "great old hotels", Le Meurice is situated in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, between Place de la Concorde and the Musee du Louvre. Founded in 1815, the award-winning Le Meurice is owned and managed by the Dorchester Collection. Apart from Salvador Dali, who checked-in every year for at least one month, Le Meurice hosted Europe's high society, numerous kings, sultans, and other eminent guests over the years. The Prince of Wales, the kings of Italy, Belgium, Greece, Bulgaria, Denmark, Montenegro, the Shah of Persia and the Bey of Tunis - they all stayed at Le Meurice. The lobby brings touches of Dali-inspired Surrealist whimsy such as a frosted mirror that melts throughout the day then refreezes overnight or a sculpture of entwined marble columns. www.lemeurice.com
Grand Hyatt - Beijing, China
Set in the heart of this bustling city, within walking distance of The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, Grand Hyatt Beijing is part of Oriental Plaza, one of China’s largest commercial complexes. Located next to the hotel, Wangfujing Street serves as a preferred shopping hub for traditional silk shops, tea houses and department stores. The interior of Grand Hyatt Beijing offers a subtle blend of Western and Oriental traditions and the lobby is no exception. Dominated by a large floor-to-ceiling glass facade overlooking the adjacent fountain, this welcoming space with soft colours is an ideal setting for informal meetings. www.beijing.grand.hyatt.com
Hotel Danieli - Venice, Italy
Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice. A location rich of history. Here we find Hotel Danieli, part of Starwood's The Luxury Collection, within a short walking distance to Piazza San Marco and the famous water taxis. The building itself dates back to the end of the 14th century, when the owner was a noble Venetian family, the Dandolos. Over the years this luxury hotel welcomed celebrities like Dickens, Balzac, Wagner, Elizabeth Taylor, Omar Sharif and Harrison Ford. The hotel was even featured in "The Tourist" movie, starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. The amazing atrium and the magnificent wooden galleried staircase leave you in wonder as soon as you walk through the revolving doors of the main entrance or through the side door from the hotel's own gondola station. The lobby and the staircase - preserved in its original, 15th century condition - are probably the most photographed elements at Danieli. Towering over the lobby, the staircase is surrounded by hand-carved pink marble pillars, gold-leafed ceilings, Murano glass chandeliers and original antiques. www.danielihotelvenice.com
Mandarin Oriental - New York, USA
Gaze over Central Park and the Manhattan skyline from one of the most sought-after luxury hotels in the "Big Apple". Enjoying a prime location on top of the Time Warner Center, Mandarin Oriental New York awaits guests within walking distance of Fifth Avenue, Broadway and the Lincoln Center. The hotel's floor-to-ceiling windows offer amazing views of the Hudson River, Manhattan or Central Park. Unlike other hotels, the lobby of Mandarin Oriental New York is located 85 meters (280 feet) above the ground, on the hotel's 35th level. In the elegant lobby guests can admire the hotel's signature fan on display - signed by Vivienne Tam, a renowned New York fashion designer - as well as Dave Chihuly's first foray into glass gardens. www.mandarinoriental.com/newyork
Burj Al Arab - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
"Arrive in absolute awe, stay individually inspired". Billed as the world's most luxurious hotel, Burj Al Arab has become a symbol of Dubai renowned across the globe. An iconic piece of architecture inspired by the traditional Arabian dhows, Jumeirah's flagship property opened its revolving doors in December 1999. With a height of 321 meters, Burj Al Arab is the third tallest hotel in the world, sitting on an artificial island 280 meters out to sea. Sumptuously decorated in gold, the hotel's atrium rises from the lobby to reach 180 meters, the highest in the world. It's so high you can even fit the Statue of Liberty in here and still have plenty of room to spare all the way up. www.jumeirah.com
Principe di Savoia - Milan, Italy
Dominating Piazza della Repubblica, the luxury five-star Principe di Savoia is the home for discerning international travellers and cosmopolitan society in Milan. The hotel’s central location means it is perfect for visitors looking to discover the city's delights, as well as its world-class shopping venues. Principe di Savoia opened its doors on 6th April 1927 and quickly became the default meeting place for the city's elite and the favourite hotel of celebrities arriving in Italy. Following the design themes in the rooms and suites, the lobby swiftly blends 19th-century Lombard interior design with unobtrusive modern technology. www.hotelprincipedisavoia.com
St. Louis Union Station - Missouri, USA
Located at the St. Louis Union Station, a National Historic Landmark, St. Louis hotel radiates with architectural elegance and is recognized as a Historic Hotel of America. It offers an ideal location and meeting destination while providing elegant luxury. Be it in the lobby or across the rooms, personal service and luxurious amenities blend with modern services and a bit of "old world" charm. www.stlunionstationhotel.com
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