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Hotel Design Podcast

Oct 28, 2019

In this episode of the Hotel Design Podcast we welcome Tina Wichmann and Craig Palacios of the Las Vegas based design firm, Bunnyfish. They have been involved in some major projects, such as helping entrepreneur and CEO of Zappos Tony Hsieh reinvent downtown Las Vegas.

The conversation starts with the duo dissecting a project they did in Reno, Nevada to reinvent the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel. That brand was on the cusp of irrelevancy, but Marriott wanted to reinvent it. The folks at Bunnyfish worked closely with the Marriott team to follow overarching brand strategies while accommodating the desire to create something new that hadn’t been done before. We hear the story about the Renaissance Hotel’s reinvention, and how they rethought guestroom components such as the desk (which has come under lots of scrutiny lately in the hotel business), the dresser, and many other components.

Then, the conversation shifts to how hotel amenities have changed during the last 20 years as guests are looking to have more experiences.  Now, food and beverages have returned as a critical element of hotel industry’s profitability. Guests are starting to do a lot more outside the guestroom, including connecting over coffee and being social in the hotel’s public spaces. Now, it’s about rethinking everything about the public space experience from the entire lobby, to the F&B experience, to the changing nature of how guests want to interact with staff. They discuss what all of that means in the context of service touchpoints and what designers should think about in the future, such as how to create spaces that morph during different times to equally capture the breakfast rush and the happy hour crowd respectively.

Then, Tina and Craig discuss how they met entrepreneur and Zappos founder Tony Hsieh at their favorite coffee shop, who they formed a working relationship with after bonding over architectural books and their love for adaptive reuse projects. At some point, Bunnyfish was tasked with helping reinvigorate what was then a flagging downtown area at the behest of Hsieh. They took on the task of reinventing the Inspire theatre in Las Vegas, added two stories and morphed it into a popular bar, lounge, nightclub and theater. It’s one of the main attractions that have people hanging out in downtown Las Vegas again in record numbers.

Finally, they discuss how micro apartments have come into fashion, particularly for millennials, and how that changes the way hotels are being developed for the rising needs of Generation Z. They also chat about creating new active adult communities and how that applies to changing hotel industry trends.

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