If you’ve got an Airbnb, Vacation Rental, or Guest Cottage, your first concern probably isn’t how guests will unpack, and where they will keep their luggage. It’s important – but not always top of mind when you’re doing this at home – experts in the hospitality industry, on the other hand, have put a ton of thought into this and I’ve noticed in my own travels a shift in trends when it comes to guest storage solutions like dressers and closets.
Before we started to shake things up at Northern Edge Algonquin, an all-inclusive retreat centre for group-based retreats, the thought process was simple: Our guests stay typically for 2-3 nights, and generally live out of their weekend bags during that time. For nearly 20 years-worth of guest stays, the majority of our accommodations offered simple shelving solutions, and not a dresser in sight.
In my mind – we had half the equation right. Our guests are not likely to unpack their belongings into a dresser, so why waste the space on one? The execution is where I think we fell short – the shelving solutions offered were limited in their usability – and while space-saving, were not super functional.
The Evolution of the guest dresser
In my travels, I started to notice a trend. Newer hotel rooms were moving away from dressers and closets, and creating opportunities to hang clothing right out in the open, and place your luggage off the ground within easy reach.
As hotel rooms get smaller and travellers move away from “unpacking” in their guest rooms, the hotel industry is imagining how they can save more space and also allow easier use of storage from a guest perspective.
As an occasional business traveler, whenever I hang my business clothes in a closet that closes, a part of me worries that I might forget it there – but as we move away from closed-in closets in hotel rooms, that worry can start to go away as well.
Leaders in style and minimal storage
When we were building our new log cabin at the Edge, I proposed the idea that we explore what type of storage would be most supportive of our guests’ needs and space. During a stay at a newly renovated Hyatt Regency, I noticed a design concept I loved (pictured here).
What’s not pictured, is the space usually taken up by a dresser or wardrobe in a traditional guest room was now a beautiful desk. The tv hang off the wall above it, leaving plenty of space for work. This desk then connected to the open-concept drawers and hanging unit pictured, which took up less space while leaving things accessible for me and giving me peace of mind I wouldn’t forget anything.
I understand that many people would prefer to hide their clothes behind doors and in drawers – but as a Certified Konmari Consultant, I appreciate all my clothes and I take good care of them. If I had company in my hotel room, I wouldn’t mind my stuff hanging in the open because it’s possible to make it look good that way – it’s just what I do, and I try to inspire others to do the same.
Arriving home, I started browsing the internet for cool designs, and we met with our blacksmith friend Stefan Duerst to do some custom design work for us. Here is the evolution of our guest storage space in the new cabin:
Now – you might not love this. Our design relies on guests continuing to live out of their weekender bag – but it’s just that kind of place. The shelf is sturdy enough to hold a weekender, and guests can stage other items they need quick access to with the hooks and shelf space available. There is also a bar for hangers or a wet towel.
What’s really amazing is the space we were able to save in these rooms. In our original designs for these rooms, we were only planning on single beds, to have enough room for a dresser or similar storage solution. The rooms now hold queen beds, all because of this change in storage – and our guests love the artistic touches from Stefan, who also did some really wonderful work on our railings.
In the Konmari Method which is sweeping the nation, we teach a special folding method that looks great in the drawer and in your luggage if you’re going to be living out of it. Now – I usually unpack if I’m staying longer than 2 nights – unless I’m in a hostel. Tell me below – do you unpack when you travel, or do you tend to live out of your bag?