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Hotel Design Podcast

Apr 8, 2022

In this episode of the Hotel Design Podcast, we welcome award-winning designer Therese Virserius, Founder of Virserius Studio. She’s worked on projects such as W Atlanta Midtown, Renaissance Paris La Défense Hotel, Hyatt Regency Montreal and others such as the Arizona Biltmore.


Host Glenn Haussman and Therese start off by discussing how she envisioned some of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ suites and its guestrooms. “It was a massive project,” says Therese, as she describes the process of renewing the property five floors at a time, touching 3,000 rooms.

The two discuss artistic point of view, Therese’s Swedish heritage, her global travels around Europe and Asia, and how experiences with many cultures affects her design approach. Interestingly she worked with IKEA, but in business development and logistics. Turns out that wasn’t satisfying enough, and her curiosity propelled her in the direction of hotel design.

They move on to discussing the reimagining of the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired Arizona Biltmore Waldorf Astoria hotel, and the challenges and opportunities to modernizing a historic hotel while still paying respect to its iconic roots. They discuss the delicate balance of adding new design elements. Her biggest challenge: harmonizing a property that has had many expansions and “potentially less diligence in honoring the original design.” Turns out that over the decades, renovation drifted from the original concept, so they discuss balancing the need to honor the hotel’s historic nature vs. newer elements where permitted, opening up spaces for more flow, creating new spaces that evoke a historic feel and modernizing the cottages.

Therese discusses the importance of materials, managing historic vs. non historic project elements, reinventing the event space around the main lawn with a new bar/ lounge, site line connections, the hotel’s signature cottages, opening up congested spaces in the main building and more. Plus, they discuss the use of LVT as a design element and how it adds to the overall look and feel of the newly reinvented cottages.

Then Glenn and Therese move from the desert environment to one decidedly beachier, The Ray Hotel Delray Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton in Florida. The two use this property to discuss creating something inherently of the region; one that is a beach hotel, yet not actually on the beach. Plus, they discuss the challenges and solutions to creating an eye-catching hotel required to follow many specific architectural related regulations. Here, Therese created an escape that manages to feel upscale and modern with a design she dubs “tropical modernism”.

Some tricks she leveraged was to create different zones in public spaces that freely flow but also feels distinct. It’s also about breaking down the barriers between the staff, customers, and the overall experience so that a guest can feel more comfortable and ultimately hopefully feel more at home.

She also discusses design strategies such as utilizing mirrors to create the feeling of more space, how lighting affects mood and can be utilized in different ways throughout the day, and other useful pieces of advice. They also talk about the continual journey of learning and how to leverage the nuances of different desires, cultures, consumer behavior to create memorable, functional designs and how to keep yourself mentally fit and constantly creative.

Follow along with some great project visuals on our website - - and subscribe to our new Youtube page to watch the video interview!