Iluminación en hoteles

Lighting in hotels: Find out the complete guide to obtain the best design that will make your guests fall in love with your hotel

Knowing the importance of lighting for a hotel and which are the most popular trends in the sector is essential to tackle a complete hotel lighting project.

The hotel sector is a world in constant evolution and, compared to the past, this evolution seems to have accelerated, so hotels and restaurants must continually update and adapt to the changes and trends that are occurring.

One of the fundamental aspects to take into account when lighting a space is that, increasingly, it is necessary to know how to combine the choice of materials with energy savings, which brings undoubted advantages in both the short and long term.

Let us now look at the main trends to be taken into account for a complete design.

Key lighting trends for hotels

Ideal lighting depends, above all, on what the hotel looks like, its characteristics and what sets it apart from its competitors.

The positive experience of many guests will depend primarily on the visual impact they have when they enter any facility. Light has a very specific effect on our unconscious response, so it conditions the customer’s experience at all times.

There are a wide range of design factors to consider:

  • The distribution of the light sources
  • The colour of the light
  • The correct direction of the light

Light accompanies inert objects and even people throughout their movement, so it is important to bear in mind that shadows and darkness will also play a key role in creating the right ambience.

Below, we are going to go over how the different spaces that make up a hotel establishment should be lit. Keep reading and don’t miss it!

Lighting the spaces in a hotel

How to light the lobby

The hotel lobby, despite being considered a place of passage, both for guests and staff, is a very important space, as it is where the first impression of the client will be made when entering the hotel establishment.

Depending on many factors such as decoration, style or lighting, the guest will be able to determine the type of hotel in which he/she is going to stay.

In this space, the light must be in accordance with the type of hotel and must be able to transmit the essence and image that the hotel wants to give to its guests.

This is why it is essential to design the right lighting: depending on the identity of the hotel, you can choose to illuminate the reception desk with a dominant light or with an intimate and welcoming light, with a play of contrasts and warm tones, so that the interior space tends towards tranquillity.

The light will guide the guests, helping them to easily recognise the reception or storage rooms and therefore the lighting will be softer. As for the quality of the light, the room should be balanced between vertical and horizontal lighting: a certain brightness of the materials will serve to soften the shadows produced by the luminous bodies directed on the reception desk.

How to light corridors

In corridors, the light must be functional, so that the way to rooms, stairs or lift access can be easily identified, so it is necessary to vary the lighting levels, especially when the corridors are long.

In these areas, good shielding of ceiling and wall light is important: lighting plays a strategic role in making the corridor appear higher or to give the impression that it is less long, e.g., with indirect lighting that raises the ceiling, patches of light, horizontal cut-outs, unevenness, etc.

How to light rooms

You should bear in mind that each of us perceives light differently, so it will be necessary that the luminaires can be individually switched on and dimmed directly by the guests, for ease of use: the ambience is new to the guest, so it is good that you also provide a control panel next to the bed, easily interpretable.

To make guests feel familiar with this space, warm coloured lighting, i.e. 2700 to 3000 K, will need to avoid strong contrasts and glare due to direct or indirect light along the main viewing axes, but seek the right balance between contrasts to create movement and avoid luminous monotony.

For reading in bed, you can use an adjustable light fitting or a wall lamp with diffused light.

To enlarge the space of the room, glass is sometimes used between the bedroom and the bathroom: in this way, it is enough to switch on the light in the adjoining room to expand the space, widening the limits.

In other cases, the room even merges with the large outdoor terrace: in this case, the outdoor space can be illuminated by using direct lighting effects on the pavement, making the lighting sessions participate in the play of light.

How to light a bathroom

In the bathroom, the focus of your lighting project should be on the mirror: good lighting in the washbasin should be enough to illuminate the whole room, in order to obtain a dressing room effect.

How to light communal areas

Interesting lighting effects can be created in common areas, with the integration of light into the hotel’s architecture together with possible customised solutions for the environment.

How to light a bar

The ambience of the bar should be enveloping and relaxing, offering guests moments of relaxation and inducing them to engage in relaxed conversation. This can be done by using good lighting levels in the staff areas and behind the displays, for good light reproduction and colour control, avoiding glare from the lights.

You will need to create a greater variety of visual effects if the hotel’s target audience is younger, with the aim of attracting and creating a different atmosphere, for example with colour-changing LED systems.

Lighting different types of hotels

How to light a non-ordinary style hotel

As the word itself says, an extraordinary hotel is the opposite of a standard hotel and the key word is, without less, uniqueness. Precisely because of the uniqueness for which they are diversified, hotels have in recent years become the subject of careful and studied lighting.

The façades and atriums of large hotels are often comparable to works of lighting engineering designed to draw attention to and enhance the attractiveness of the structure, creating a sense of welcome, hospitality and class both outside and inside.

Therefore, you must be able to create scenographic lighting effects, using decorative light bodies, increasing contrasts, strategically using coloured lights as tools to create suggestive atmospheres, in order to enhance the aesthetic and functional uniqueness of the hotel, but also ensuring maximum visual and emotional comfort for guests and staff.

How to light a hybrid style hotel

Nowadays, a hotel is no longer exclusively a tourist accommodation, but can also represent spaces for different activities, such as coworking, work space, student lounge, bookshop, shop, square, meeting point, etc.

The hotel, therefore, becomes a hybrid space capable of housing and combining multiple functions. This type of hotel not only guarantees the classic functions required of an accommodation facility, such as eating and sleeping, but also creates a multi-tasking structure by opening its doors to commercial and bookshop spaces, as well as beer gardens and themed shops. This takes on a more commercial connotation and is very different from the traditional hotel.

When designing rooms and lighting, more and more designers are taking inspiration from typical hotel environments: many ideas are borrowed from other types of venues, such as theatres and art galleries, or use a skilful combination of various locations to create an even more attractive environment.

How to light a hotel storytelling style

When a hotel is able to tell a story, it succeeds in immersing its guests in stories and in creating experiences that are always unique and emotionally captivating.

The stories a hotel can tell are those related to the place, to the owners of the accommodation, or they can be stories specifically designed for the type of clientele it wants to attract, such as the Hotel Indigo in Rome, where the beauties of the city enter the rooms and other spaces of the hotel, from the restaurant to the gym: large photographic images create the storytelling, through which guests can take a tour of the place, the history and the charm of the city, on the walls of the hotel.

To enhance the storytelling, the lighting must be very characteristic and must give uniqueness and particularity to the environment, through a generic light, clear but not too intense so as not to take away the magic of the place and the use of accent lights that manage to involve the guests, drawing their attention to the narrative thread of the story with a successful and strategic use of the play of light and shadows.

An always valid solution to opt for is to allow a certain margin of lighting variability, so that the guest can adjust the lighting levels and modes to their liking.

How to light a technological hotel

Home automation, booking engines and the latest generation of management software are the tools that every accommodation establishment should be able to integrate.

For “digital” guests, who are increasingly hyper-connected and eager to share their experiences in real time, the room and common areas dedicated to leisure, socialising and also sharing on social networks, must be able to offer them both the comfort necessary for their digital needs and the content they can capture and share with their online community.

As an enhancement to the customer experience, the smartphone is key in a literal sense: there are many solutions that allow the hotel guest to open their room with their phone, via a special app provided by the hotel, and control the lighting in your room; a solution now provided by many lighting installation manufacturers and integrated by many designers, allowing guests to also adjust the intensity, colour and other lighting effects.

Eco-sustainable hotel lighting solutions

Eco-sustainable solutions also often lead to significant energy savings: due to the characteristics of accommodation facilities, electricity consumption for lighting is one of the most expensive items.

This is why one of the most popular trends in modern hotel design is precisely the presence of daylight sensors, which adapt to the variation in outside light and adjust the intensity of the interior lighting accordingly, in combination with room occupancy sensors.

Being able to switch the light on and off automatically according to the occupied rooms, and to adjust the intensity of the light beam according to the natural light, makes these sensors extremely functional tools for energy saving, an optimal solution both for the respect of the environment and the economy of the hotel.

Given that lighting is the item that has the greatest impact on a hotel’s total electricity expenditure, it is worth investing in technologies that reduce unnecessary consumption, such as, for example, turning off the lights when there is no one in the room, or avoiding excessive lighting levels when natural light is sufficient.

In addition to the two types of sensors we have just seen, there are additional technologies and automatisms on the market that can provide a real advantage in limiting energy consumption: some hotels, for example, allow you to turn on the air conditioning, television, lights and all the other electrical services in the room by simply inserting a card that activates the electricity that powers it.

In addition, you have the possibility of adopting monitoring tools that control the consumption derived from the various sources, allowing you to subsequently analyse and optimise the overall consumption of electrical energy.

How to design hotel lighting

A good hotel does not necessarily have to be 5-star, but it must be able to make the guest feel at home, with an enveloping and hospitable atmosphere. Hotel lighting contributes significantly to the guest experience, not so much for the function linked to visibility, but for the emotions it is able to arouse.

The atmosphere that you must be able to recreate with the right lighting must be welcoming, pleasant and functional, so that guests can easily and comfortably find their way around any room in the hotel.

In a hotel lobby, for example, the relationship between function and decoration given by the lighting must be harmonious enough to create an atmosphere that can influence the guest’s first impression from the moment they arrive: the light that welcomes guests is responsible for leaving a good memory in their minds.

In hotel rooms, however, light should take on a more practical but flexible role, offering the possibility of adjusting the light according to their needs.

Adopting a lighting system that can adapt to the guest’s needs means allowing them to recreate the most pleasant ambience, dictated by their mood, autonomously and extemporaneously.

If the hotel has a ceremonial hall, a conference and meeting area, very flexible lighting will be required to cater for the various activities that take place in this space.

In these cases, lighting should be managed through the use of a suitable control system that all staff can easily operate.

In the bar and restaurant area, lighting plays a decisive role in differentiating the spaces, creating the most appropriate atmosphere for the different environments.

Aisles used by staff, for example, are often brighter than the light from tables or seats.

In restaurants, it is preferable to use subdued light with a warm tone for dinners, so as to create a relaxing and intimate atmosphere. For breakfast and lunch, however, it is better to integrate with plenty of natural lighting or to use lighting with brighter, more stimulating tones.

Lighting design solutions for hotels with relaxation areas and swimming pools

Let us now look at how to illuminate those areas that represent additional services offered by the hotel, but which for guests are decisive elements for their differential choice.

In this area, customers will pass from one space to another using the corridors. So, let’s first look at how to light the articulated corridors of the relaxation area.

Lighting the aisles of the relaxation area

In the corridors, the lights should help the customer to find their way around but without dazzling. To achieve this result is simple: use wall-mounted steps that point downwards.

You can also use decorative lights inserted in furniture or ceiling veils/blinds that let light fall on the walls, to create a soft and indirect effect.

Lighting plays a fundamental role in the perception of the guest’s experience in the hotel: think of light as the driver of the relaxation area, as it is the light that directs the guests and is imprinted in their eyes.

Lighting the SPA and wellness area

When you need to design the lighting of a SPA hotel, you must necessarily separate this area from the rest of the structure, as the lighting in this area requires special and selective attention.

The most common mistake you must avoid is to enrich the SPA area with too many bodies of light, projecting an excessive amount of light that compromises the fundamental result you need to achieve, namely the relaxation of the client.

In this area it is essential that you manage to focus your attention on the quality of the light, rather than the quantity: the environment must be welcoming, comfortable and must help the client to feel at ease even more than in other environments, as this is where they want to feel as relaxed as possible.

Guests entering the relaxation area do not need lighting that allows them to see 100 metres away: a few Lux are enough to allow people to relax and at the same time move safely within the whole area.

In relaxation areas, therefore, it is important that the light is soft and indirect, without any glare: lighting between 10 and 20 Lux will be sufficient to meet the client’s needs. In addition, the light must necessarily have a warm colour temperature, ranging from a minimum of 2700K to a maximum of 3000K.

With the new LED technologies, it is possible to configure an adjustable lighting system that the client can customise both in quantity and in the colour of the light itself.

Light up the showers

In the areas reserved for showers, if you can’t get indirect light, you should at least try to direct the light sources towards the walls: this will allow you to create a very suggestive atmosphere, always without giving up visual comfort. You can also use an RGB LED light in red, green and blue for chromotherapy.

Lighting the pool

When it comes to lighting the pool, the best solution both aesthetically and functionally is the underwater lighting system.

As for the lighting of the pool showers, also for the pool you should choose coloured RGB LEDs, possibly RGB + W, which offer the possibility to diffuse the white when necessary.

Lighting the massage room

Massage areas should be immersed in indirect or filtered LED lighting, with soft, very low light intensity and above all, very warm lights, as it is important that the client relaxes and feels completely at ease.

In this area, too, a personalised adjustment of the light intensity can be provided by means of dimmers. In this way, the operator can choose the most suitable ambience according to both the type of massage and the client’s personal needs. Moreover, this solution is ideal because when he needs to massage the client, he can keep the light low, and when he needs to clean the room, he only needs to increase the intensity of the lighting.

How to make a complete design of the hotel lighting

LED lights for versatility and savings

As we have seen, hotel guests expect to be welcomed, to relax in the common areas, to have a comfortable and technological room and to be able to use practical and functional working environments. Your hotel’s lighting project must ensure the right light in each of the rooms to offer the customer a positive experience that will motivate them to return.

You can choose LED lights, which allow you to create different atmospheres capable of satisfying all emotional nuances and customising the various environments dynamically. In addition, LED lights mean a significant reduction in energy consumption, both because of their nature and because they allow you to regulate the intensity of the lighting at various times of the day, always offering an optimal ratio between artificial light and natural light.

Lighting for each room of the hotel

The hotel gradually introduces itself to the guest, who follows a path that gradually leads him or her to discover the different atmospheres.

The reception area gives a first impression of the hotel’s hospitality and style, so the general lighting in the lobby must make the reception area recognisable and intuitively delimit the entrances to the rooms and common areas.

In the corridors the lighting should be harmonised with the geometry, in fact it can make the ceiling appear higher, contrast the tunnel effect and dynamise the route by using horizontal light cuts that modify the perception of length.

Vertical lighting makes it easier to recognise people and backlit panels make it easier to recognise the room number.

In the room, the lighting should be adapted to the various functions that the guest normally performs, such as reading, watching television, accessing the Internet, relaxing, etc. For this to be possible, it is best to use a single multi-function control that is easily interpretable, so that you can adjust and obtain the right light level at any given moment.

We have also seen that the most innovative hotels offer special apps that allow you to open the room and adjust all electrical services via your smartphone, such as air conditioning, light intensity and colour, blinds, etc.

In the bathroom, the lighting of the mirrors plays a very important role, as it offers the possibility of identifying every detail well.

In the common areas, lighting should be integrated with the architecture and furnishings. As for the relaxation area and the massage area, it should be able to illuminate the spaces by means of light sources with a soft beam and a warm tone, in order to allow guests, the maximum level of relaxation, given above all by the sensation of feeling completely at ease.

The keys to good hotel lighting

All you need to know for a complete hotel lighting design are the key words:

  • Diversification
  • Digitalisation
  • Narrative
  • Multitasking
  • Comfort

For the hotel you are designing to become the first choice of customers, you must be able to structure an interior and exterior lighting concept with a unique and functional design for every part of it.

What stays in the memory of the guests is the lighting, as light is the element that can decide the perceptual experience of the guests, a fundamental factor for their evaluation of their stay in the hotel. Always bear in mind that each area of the hotel needs specific and functional lighting for the activities for which it is intended. Choose luminous bodies to better define the external character of the hotel, and then concentrate on maintaining that stylistic line in each of the internal areas, including the rooms.

You can choose to integrate different lamps to create captivating plays of light, in order to make the spaces as static as possible, except, of course, in the relaxation area. Since this is the area used for relaxation, choosing soft, non-dynamic lighting will give guests a sense of calm and tranquillity and facilitate their total relaxation.

The innovative trends that differentiate different hotels are decisive for the type of lighting to be envisaged, as it is precisely light that will enhance the concept of hotel diversification. In this sense, understanding what type of hotel it is, what its characteristic elements are and what type of clientele it intends to reach is fundamental to be able to create a specific project capable of marrying with your client’s vision.

Therefore, to be able to create a complete project, you will have to strategically combine all the points seen so far, finding the most suitable way to integrate all the features that will surely make your hotel lighting project a real success in every part, which will translate into the success of the accommodation you are commissioned with.

At NTE Sistemas we can help you, since we are lighting professionals, experts in LED lighting. Contact us without any commitment for your hotel lighting project.