Ceramic tile is a beautiful workhorse, which is why designers are increasingly replacing typical hotel finishes such as carpet, stone, and wallpaper with this wünder surface. With design and maintenance as top concerns in the hospitality market, tile can create something salient and fresh that will stand the test of time. Better yet, with thousands of products to choose from, it can help transform a space regardless of the project’s budget or scale.
From a technical perspective, ceramic tile is a versatile, hygienic, and durable material. It can withstand high traffic areas, is easy to clean and spot repair, does not off-gas, and has a life cycle of more than 50 years where other materials would need replacement within a few years. The damage that other products incur from rolling luggage as it is pulled through the hotel makes tile the best candidate for longevity.
As hotels evolve into social hubs–with bars, communal tables, and open working areas–ceramic tile is becoming a crucial design tool in public spaces. It can be used to divide one large, open space into multiple functions and demarcate various programmatic zones using floor tiles with different textures, colors, and patterns. On top of that, polygonal shapes such as hexagons, rhombi, and brick can be used to create interesting transitional floors, which have been growing in popularity over the past few years.
From a visual perspective, ceramic tile is the perfect material to create a low-maintenance and cost-effective accent wall. Because the majority of today’s tiles are digitally printed, the design possibilities are endless. They can look like book matched marble, etched metal, formwork concrete, or hand-chiseled stone. A number of manufacturers also offer custom printing capabilities, turning tile into a blank canvas for bespoke artwork and branding. Three-dimensional surfaces and large format tiles mimicking hand-cut micro mosaics can also give the appearance of artisanal craftsmanship without the time or cost.
Moving beyond public spaces, hotel owners are starting to bring the European mindset about hotel guestrooms to the U.S. It’s being increasingly used in the bedroom area, including headboards, because of the decorative ranges available in the market and its hygienic properties when considering issues like bedbugs. In addition, porcelain tiles that mimic the color, texture, and grain of wood continue to gain a foothold, especially in hotel bathrooms where real hardwoods are impractical to use because of moisture. On the other hand, vibrant colors and retro patterns such as cementine are in demand and tile companies are responding with rich color palettes and flexible systems for designers to create their own tailor-made tile compositions.
About the Author
Kristin Coleman is a vice president at Novità PR.
(Top Photo) Viking Star designed by Rottet Studio featuring custom printed tiles from Lea Ceramiche. Photo by Eric Laignel.