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Hotel Design Podcast

Jun 10, 2022

In this episode of the Hotel Design Podcast, we welcome Staci Patton, Principal & Hospitality Interior Design Director of DLR Group.  This show was captured during the NEWH Leadership Conference in Seattle.


Host Glenn Haussman has Staci start by explaining that DLR Group is a multidisciplinary design firm.  Staci leads the hospitality studio, a boutique group within a larger organization, overseeing 60 people within the locations of Minneapolis, Chicago, and Kansas City. The projects that the team works on are varied, and include lifestyle and luxury boutique work. 


Staci says it is essential for boutique and lifestyle design is all about story telling. Without that, a hotel lacks an identity. Though it is easier to find a story through adaptive reuse buildings, even if a hotel is a new build, a smart story must be crafted to serve as a project’s design throughline.  For focused brand hotels, stories can be told through the local environment. Her diligent focus on storytelling derives from her original career goal, journalism, and she shares how she discovered her true calling for design.  


The first project discussed is the AC Scottsdale North. Staci and her team have worked on over 35 different AC Hotel designs. Part of the Marriott brand family, this property brand stands out for its classic European modernism design.  The goal for all AC Hotels is that no AC Hotel looks the same due to the customized hyperlocal influences that are used as compliments to each hotel’s design. In AC Scottsdale North, that translates to striking designs that are carried throughout the space to mirror the vertical lines of cacti found throughout Phoenix.


Next, Glenn and Staci discuss the distinctions between classic style verses trends and how the design dialogue has morphed through the ages. Staci also shares insights on creating dynamic communal outdoor spaces. AC Scottsdale North’s pool and lounge are shown as examples, which have biophilic elements such as fire, waterfalls, and plants incorporated into them.


The next project is the Catbird Hotel, a Sage Hospitality property located in Denver’s RiNo Art District. Partnering with branding company OMFGCO, the concept blurs the distinction between hotel and home. Distinctly eclectic, the design uses colors strategically throughout it.  Spaces also need to be highly functional, as the property is designed for stays upwards of a month or more. The teams therefore created a loft-like space with expanded kitchenettes and an expanded social living zone.


The Cottonwood Hotel, in Omaha is the next property examined.  Formerly called the Blackstone, the property was historically a stopping space for people traveling from New York to the West when it first opened in 1916. The project started with a gutted hotel, so the team visited the nearby Durham Museum and worked historical Western elements into the common areas of the building’s design. This Kimpton property leveraged the power of a historic building as a base from which to build a story. Meanwhile, the guest rooms have a very light and minimalist feel to help guests feel serene and relaxed.


The final project brings us to Iowa for a look at the Surety Hotel, which the owners call a “modern grand hotel ushering an exciting new era in downtown Des Moines.” Another historic space, this hotel is a modern homage to the former bank & offices that were in the building’s original intent. The Perry Hotel Group embraced elements such as mosaic tile, then paired it with modern Midwest inspiration.

Staci shares advice that was given to her from one of her mentors when she started her career, and also shares an encouraging message for any new designers.

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