DKO Architecture on the changing face of hotel design

Mark BaljakMay 11, 20180 min read

Last week alone three new hotels were confirmed for Melbourne, adding to the seemingly unrelenting boom in hotel development which has and will continue to deliver thousands of new rooms/suites citywide.

Competition between design practices and developers to attract these new hotel operators is intense, and much along the lines of Melbourne's residential market, the competition and desire to discern one development from another has seen hotel design taken strides forward in terms of sophistication.

DKO Architecture is currently enjoying immense success in hotel design, not only locally but on a pan-Asian scale. Of the three hotels revealed last week, DKO is responsible for designing Hyatt Place Melbourne Springvale.

DKO Architecture on the changing face of hotel design
DKO Architecture's newly unveiled Springvale influence

On the intersection of Springvale, Centre and Dandenong Roads, and situated within the Monash Employment and Innovation Cluster, Hyatt Place Melbourne Springvale will see a 200-key hotel completed by 2020. DKO Architecture's Springvale project is in addition to two Marriott hotels and two boutique hotels under their design control.

Their gaggle of Melbourne hotel projects, which includes a forthcoming Southbank announcement, is in addition to a strong current catalogue of 4-star hotels designs throughout South East Asia and New Zealand.

DKO Architecture have noted that the ability to swiftly adapt to changing user preferences has seen their work in the hotel design field bloom. Their response has been to take a bolder stance regarding hotel design, whilst also "acknowledging and anticipating future design trends in the hotel market."

One such trend has been the rise of the Chinese tourist which continues to propel visitor numbers, whilst also changing the nature of hotel design; DKO Architecture note that a greater emphasis is now placed on food and beverage offerings. In a broader sense, the practice notes that "hotel design trends evolving to become more personalised, connected, and flexible enough to address different cultures with growing tourism."

DKO Architecture on the changing face of hotel design
Four Points by Sheraton Melbourne Docklands

Hotels are incredibly complex buildings as there are so many different components: back of house, front of house, restaurants and bars (that often need to be used in different ways throughout the day). Therefore flexibility of space becomes increasingly important in addressing the needs of different tourism markets such as the Chinese.

Why do we have so much Hotel work? We understand that from a design point of view, the hotel in Docklands needs to feel different to a hotel in South Yarra and through Sydney.

At DKO we have a lot of apartment projects which has translated to apartment/hotels in a single project with serviced apartments. But more and more this is translating to stand alone hotels with increased tourism.

DKO Architecture’s Principal, Koos de Keijzer

The aforementioned food and beverage offerings are pivotal as around 50% of hotel revenue currently being generated is via food and beverage offerings, with predictions seeing that figure rise to 80% by 2020.

Fewer guests are choosing to work in their rooms, leaning toward communal spaces which in part has led to the mushrooming of ancillary revenues. 

DKO Architecture on the changing face of hotel design
Four Points by Sheraton Melbourne Docklands

This trend assists with the rising food and beverage revenue.

From a design perspective, we need to be mindful as to the flexibility of the space. For example, the breakfast space is often hidden away following service then goes into a la carte. Food and Beverage will help create identity for a venue.

It has it owns story, its own aesthetic.

Michael Drescher, DKO Interior Design Director

Hotels have also strayed away from "template-style design" to be more reflective of their locations. 

The hotel room/suite is also experiencing change with DKO Architecture noting that open bathrooms are on the outer, whilst flexibility is key to catering for differing cultural backgrounds. Hand in hand with flexibility is an increased design aesthetic, which in the case of DKO Architecture's recently completed Four Points by Sheraton Melbourne Docklands has resulted in a brooding design outcome.

DKO Architecture on the changing face of hotel design
Docklands' Four Points by Sheraton interior

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak was a co-founder of He passed away on Thursday 8th of November 2018 after a battle with cancer. He was 37. Mark was a keen traveller, having visited all six permanently-inhabited continents and had a love of craft beer. One of his biggest passions was observing the change that has occurred in Melbourne over the past two decades. In that time he built an enormous library of photos, all taken by him, which tracked the progress of construction on building sites from across metropolitan Melbourne.
DKO Architecture
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