July 25, 2011
By Nunzio DeSantis, FAIA, LEED AP, Executive Vice President/Director of Hospitality, HKS Hill Glazier Studio; Jeff Jensen, AIA, Principal/Design Director Hospitality, HKS Hill Glazier Studio; Khoi Le, RA, LEED AP, Vice President/Senior Designer, HKS Hill Glazier Studio; and Melissa Voelker, LEED AP BD+C, Associate/Project Designer, HKS Hill Glazier Studio

You know a great hotel when it grabs you at “Hello” and doesn’t let go. Understanding the role design plays helps shape the guest experience. From the entrance to the back of the house, the building materials, color palette and everything in between, hospitality design is an art form that leaves nothing to chance. Each individual component must synchronize for the greater good. Design excellence always begins with in-depth scrutiny of a site’s natural and manmade characteristics, views, climate, topography, history and regional vernacular.

Great hotels are distinguished by how they make you feel. Service is so critical to the overall experience that skillful design must combine beauty and common sense, making it easy for hotel staff to serve guests efficiently, impeccably, practically unnoticed.

Want to dazzle your guests and create enduring, timeless architecture? HKS Hill Glazier Studio’s team has developed a series of 10 key design considerations – from the lobby to the bathroom, the spa and more – for you to consider when designing your next project. Here are 10 essential design tips for the porte cochere – your first opportunity to hook them at “Hello.”

Top 10 Tips for Porte Cochere Design

  • Tailored to Fit. First impressions of grandeur or serenity begin at the front door. To make your guests feel relaxed and welcomed, the porte cochere should be in proportion and complementary to the overall building scale with a balanced design that is both contextual and comfortable.
  • Light Up My Life. Great lighting heightens anticipation. Well-chosen accent lighting sets the tone for design elements, dramatizing the hotel’s architectural features, enhancing its image and perpetuating a mood of expectation. Accent lighting for landscape, hardscape and the building greatly enhances the arrival impression at night.
  • Made in the Shade. Plan for the guest’s comfort based on the elements. Provide protection and shelter in snowy, cold, hotor muggy climates, or create shady and open-air environments in temperate regions.
  • A Dash of Spice. Thoughtfully and tastefully, add splashes of color, eye-catching landscaping and fire or water elements to set the stage for what’s waiting inside.
  • Comfort Counts. Make the waiting areas inviting by choosing materials, finishes and furnishings that are comfortable, yet will withstand the test of time – and the climate.
  • Where’s My Stuff? Locate the valet, bell stands and luggage storage in an easily accessible location for staff, yet hidden from the guests’ view. The porte cochere shouldn’t resemble a crowded airport check-in counter.
  • Cracking the Code. Know local building codes for height and turnaround requirements for fire and emergency vehicles.
  • Honk, Honk! Allow enough space to include a bypass lane to keep cars and people moving, making sure it’s clear and easy to understand how traffic will flow.
  • Load ‘Em Up. A porte cochere is a busy place. Creating designated staging areas for buses, taxis and autos will make it easier for individuals, large groups and staff to manage comings and goings. Large touring buses and taxi cabs should have access to the front of the property, though separate and off to one side. Keep these vehicles within close proximity, but not directly at the hotel entrance.
  • Out of Sight, Out of Mind. Locate vehicle parking off of major sightlines, or screen parked cars with landscaping elements where possible.

For more information, contact Jeff Jensen at jjensen@hksinc.com.

Posted in All Markets, Hospitality
Tagged designing a hotel porte cochere, Hospitality Design, How to Design a Porte Cochere, Jeff Jensen, Khoi Le, Melissa Voelker, Nunzio DeSantis