Tuesday, July 22, 2008

There’s a New Hotel Lobby in Town, and It’s Drawing Quite a Crowd

There’s a new hotel lobby in town, and it’s drawing quite a crowd. The new Sheraton Link lobby is the first of its kind in Texas and one of less than a handful in the U.S. It is the centerpiece of a multi-million renovation of the Sheraton North Houston at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

“Lobbies used to be a major social gathering place 50 years ago, but evolved into a sterile environment, primarily for check-in,” said Robert Kisker, hotel general manager. “Guests simply went to their rooms, and only returned to the lobby when they passed through it on their way somewhere else or to check out of the hotel. Today’s travelers want to have more interaction. The new design is a sea change and refashions the lobby into an appealing destination for guests, providing comfortable spaces that promote socialization and networking. We have gone from perhaps one or two people sitting in the lobby to 20 to 30, and it is pretty much continuous throughout the day, with several hundred people using the area each day.”

The Sheraton’s new lobby space provides guests with a sense of belonging, warmth and community. At the heart of the lobby re-design is the “Link @ Sheraton,” a signature lobby-based communications hub that enables guests to stay connected and fully productive while traveling and away from their offices. The Link @ Sheraton is a unique environment that meets the needs of Sheraton’s core guests by enabling them to work, relax and remain connected to family and friends during their travels. It provides a total online experience, including free Wi-Fi and Internet-enabled computer stations, which allow guests to e-mail, search the Web, research local attractions and even print up boarding passes. Guests also have access to televisions, daily newspapers, and food and beverage offerings.

Adding to the social aspect of the new lobby design, a communal table at the lobby’s center allows several groups of guests to work independently of one another within the same space, with game tables and oversized chairs that encourage interaction or rest and relaxation. Guests also are surrounded by a distinctive ambiance created through new sensory elements, including a clean, “open air” scent, music, lighting and botanical designs.

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