I recently spent a long weekend in the desert of famous/infamous Las Vegas.    So. Much. Fun.  But also: So. Much. Amazing Design.   Folks know or think many things about Las Vegas, but did you know it is a mecca for hospitality design?  Serious, big money hospitality design.  Makes sense as it is a destination for fun and business for so many of us around the globe and when we are there we’re wined and lodged in incredible places.   I had the pleasure of meeting a group of Las Vegas based interior designers last year during a design class and caught a glimpse into their projects, their budgets, their clients.  Our local ASID chapter president resides in Las Vegas and the city hosts the west coast’s Home Furnishings Market at the World Market Center twice yearly.  So it is a design industry hub as well as a major venue to experience world-class design.

Architecture and interiors are strategic elements in a competitive arsenal aimed at our pocket books.   And each new venue pushes the bar higher and into different unexpected directions in order to get and keep our attention.  We stayed at The Aria in the new City Center and it is an outrageous blend of wonder and decadence.  The suites were filled with state of the art amenities like remote controlled window treatments, “spa” toilets, surround sound throughout, and earth tone palettes lit by splashes of vibrant colors.  The public spaces were non-stop over the top.

The photo above shows a wall in the foyer to one of the 30+ restaurants in the center.  River rock enclosed in clear, hollow bricks stacked ceiling high.

Checking into the Aria Spa I was greeted by an incredible fresh flower arrangement.  Have to try this one sometime!

Can you guess what this is?  No, not stone, not glass or acrylic.  This is a brick wall made entirely of salt rock.  Salt rock!  I took a discreet lick to confirm it, really, I did.  The salt bricks are lit from behind to produce a lovely glow and to evidently motivate salt essence into the air and our lungs.  Didn’t feel a thing except delight in the beauty and audacity of the idea and its execution.

These incredible images are shots I took of art which adorns the walls of the fitness center and spa.  The wave-like pieces are woven textiles, each measuring nearly 50″x80″.  The orange piece is layered shards of glass.   Regrettably I’ve been unable to locate the artists names to give them the credit and attention they deserve.

Can you guess what these are?  I shot this from ground level looking up through the most beautiful arrangement of upside down umbrellas.  The scale is not evident here but imagine an 80′ diameter room with a 40′ high glass-covered ceiling with sun rays breaking through the lovely fabrics.  Stunning!

So, back to an earlier post about how the hospitality industry drives some residential design trends.  Remember those first 400 thread count sheets you slept on? Probably in a hotel. What about that heated bathroom floor?  Blackout drapery?  The marble finishes in the bathrooms?  These are the obvious elements of luxury that we take away from our hotel stays and aspire to put in our own homes.  But there are other aspects of our experiences that influence us as well.  Perhaps it is the tropical feel of a balcony experienced through open french doors; or that lovely use of wallpaper that makes you think it may not be as old-fashioned as you imagined; or what about that lovely color combination?  I’ll never forget a stay on Maui many years ago: my husband and I checked into the Kea Lani and I was immediately taken by the colors in the lobby area rugs: a cream field with an assortment of corals, purple, green and yellow patterns.  Doesn’t sound so exotic to me now but the colors were perfectly toned to each other and to this day this color combination remains one of my favorites.

So what is your favorite hotel stay take-away? A color, a finish? The way the furniture is arranged? Please share a comment……