Andrew Scott, Victus Hospitality Consultancy, on the improving image of hotel bars.
People talk about that third place, the place that isn’t home or work yet a place you choose to spend your time. This space could be your hotel bar. Not a pub and a pint, but a bar where you can switch off, unwind and relax over a beer, a cocktail or if greedy a whole bottle of the good stuff. The key to creating this space is to invite guests in, with low lighting and comfy furniture – out with the bar stool and in with the sofa!
There used to be a stigma around hotel bars but fortunately that is shifting. More and more, hotel bars are the place to engage in banter with colleagues, check emails and unwind from a busy day. We do not want to be boxed in our bedrooms. Many hotels now see this and have designed the rooms in a way so that guests stay in the bar for longer, offering less facilities within the bedroom itself.
The bars have to be better than what we can get at home. We seek a more extensive range of products; we are obsessed with traceability and provenance. “Where is the gin from?” “Is this beer local?” The way people became foodies there is now a knowledgeable hotel bar client. An engaged staff make patrons feel at ease and there is nothing more comfortable than wasting a few hours in the hotel bar that way.
Hotel bars need to be practical but also comfy to encourage time to be spent and we all know time results in spend. Effective mood lighting at night time drawn together with blinds and curtains can give hotel bars that cosy feel and everyone looks comfy on a couch drinking wine. Music, ambience and staff attitude can make the hustle and bustle of a hotel bar feel like a cool place to be.