Hotel Design Podcast | Lisa Simeone and Gina Deary


May 3, 2022

In this episode of the Hotel Design Podcast, we welcome Lisa Simeone and Gina Deary – two of the principals of Chicago based Simeone Deary Design Group.

Host Glenn Haussman, Lisa and Gina start by discussing the state of hotel design in 2022.  Both guests feel optimistic about the state of design during the past few years and believe the future is open to new design concepts and creativity. Incredibly, post Covid, design has emerged on the other side with a lot of positivity and a lot of change for the better, they say.  Many of the worries associated with COVID crisis protocols such as the permanence of special distancing and barriers are gone, which allows designers to get back to creative rather than being hamstrung by functional design.

Yours Truly DC

These days, food & beverage spaces are more frequently being incorporated directly into the lobby experience. The principals discuss Yours Truly DC, which opened during the height of COVID boasting a central bar with the entire lobby serving as a restaurant. The concept: having a productive social place to hang as a group, or be alone together.

Interestingly, while they’ve been partners for 20 years, they typically work independently of each other, choosing to use each other as creative partners to bounce ideas off of.  Combined, they weave into their design incredible guest experiences. “It’s not always just about the sticks and stone of design”, they philosophize, but bringing in experiential components that transform spaces into Instagrammable moments.

Austin Marriott Downtown, in Austin, TX

One project they discuss is the Austin Marriott Downtown, in Austin, TX. Despite being a branded hotel with specific standards, the property has a beautiful, clean, modern, & classic design pushing the notion of what a branded hotel can be. Rather than feel prototypical, instead the property has a timeless appeal hinting at the Austin landscape.

Hotel Kansas City – Part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt

The next project discussed is the Hotel Kansas City, part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt. Formally a men’s club known as the Kansas City Club, the space was transformed into a hotel. Here, the adaptive reuse project highlights existing architectural elements which underscored the craftsmanship of the original structure.  The existing building also featured myriad unexpected treasures utilized to tell smaller stories within that bigger hotel design story.

When creating The Detroit Foundation Hotel, the team looked back at the region’s auto industry for inspiration, combining the aesthetic and automobile colors as the palette in which they created the broader design. In rooms, pastel colors and design elements evoking the auto industry are used to create guestroom design tone.

Conservatory Bar at Monarch

Also featured are the downtown Dallas based Monarch and Kessaku restaurants, located at the top of the Thompson Hotel.  Here, the Jewelbox Bar has a stunning metal flower chandelier that orients the design for the small 10 seat bar. The craft cocktails bar also serves as a space delineating different space elements as guests move between separate dining areas.

The Cheyenne Club at Brush Creek Ranch

Meanwhile, the Cheyenne Club at The Farm at Brush Creek Ranch is located on an 80,000 acre ranch owned by White Lodging. Here, the project is an expanded version of a farm to table concept, including a brewery, distillery, fine dining restaurant, creamery, bakery, and greenhouse.  The ranch’s cattle supplies the restaurant’s beef, while lambs and goats supply the dairy. It’s a true experience where the design was created entirely from reclaimed materials.

Finally, the designers reveal an important secret for any future designer: build an art piece into the construction budget, thus it’s included in the overall project budget, eliminating the chance the art budget will be cut considerably as the projects moves along.