In recent times, hotels have turned their reception and shared spaces into something busy, buzzy, with a bar full of guests and locals, and sometimes events such as fashion shows, art exhibitions or live music.

Microhotels brands such as Marriott’s Moxy placed a greater emphasis on public spaces like the lobby, with guests checking in at the bar rather than front desk, while offering smaller-than-average rooms.

But now the pandemic has kept hotel occupancy at around a third, and social distancing is not only a suggestion but the new normal, the lobby as social hub has come to an end for now.

Jan Freitag of ASAP Business Partner STR talks of solutions such as new furniture arrangements, signs or other ways to keep guests apart, fewer decorative items that can’t be easily cleaned, and surfaces that lend themselves well to constant sanitising, along with online check-in and keyless entry. This article discusses Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt on how they are looking at their social spaces, in an effort to find the right balance between connection and space, and quotes designers and hotel experts on how to marry hygiene and comfort.

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