New generations of travelers with evolving tastes, desires, and preferences are entering the marketplace ready to spend. With the experience economy heating up, hotels are working to be revolutionary rather than reactionary. One of the most profound drivers of change in the hospitality industry today is the incorporation of biophilic design.

Designers and hoteliers alike are now integrating the principles of biophilia and biophilic design into the large-scale design plans of their buildings in order to meet the expectations of their guests, new and old. This progression towards biophilic design, defined as an architectural framework that weaves the patterns and forms of nature into the built environment to strengthen the human-nature connection, didn’t happen overnight, but rather, established itself gradually as an industry staple.

The essentials of biophilic design

  • Views of nature / Room with a view
  • Natural architectural patterns
  • Use of sustainably sourced materials / Local materials
  • Living green walls / Vertical gardens
  • Direct and indirect exposure to nature / Varying height & randomness
  • Exposure to natural lighting / Dynamic and diffuse light
  • Scattered & clustered vegetation / Varying height & randomness
  • Water / Water features
  • Natural scents & odors
  • Refuge or Shelter
  • Indoor & Outdoor connections to nature

There is a growing body of evidence showing the value of a hotel investing in biophilic elements such as exterior landscaping and interior plants or trees. It is clear that biophilic enhancements play an important role in a hotel’s ability to keep guests coming back by creating an overall guest experience of joy and refuge. This is supported by the recent “Power of the Online Review: Mining feedback for impactful guest experience investments” report that found 56 percent of hoteliers believe guests would be more likely to return to a property that integrated biophilic elements- with plants being the primary driver.  


You can also see the impact of biophilia on the Average Daily Rate (ADR) of a hotel room by simply looking at the price differentials between rooms with a view of the ocean and rooms without a view of the ocean. On average, the room with an ocean view is priced up to 18% higher than the non-ocean view room. This is a simple but effective way of demonstrating the practical value of biophilia and biophilic design on a hotel and its ADR.

How hotels can implement biophilic design

In today’s market, hotels are looking for new and exciting ways to incorporate biophilic design beyond the views of gardens, ponds, and parks. Hotels are turning to interior architectural elements to enhance their properties. This topic was under the microscope in a new Human Spaces report on biophilic design in hospitality that was released in 2017.

The report found that hotels are beginning to purposefully design spaces that blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor areas. They’re doing this by leveraging plants, living walls, glass, natural lighting, woods and stone, and open spaces. Essentially hotels are creating biophilic enclaves that provide guests with a sense of wellness and relaxation when combined with more traditional furniture and decor.


Hotels are further leveraging biophilic design through biomorphic architectural forms with natural materials, water features, and a variety of other design patterns. These forms create complex, comfortable, and dynamic spaces in common areas such as lobbies, lounges, and restaurants, allowing guests to enjoy their meal or cocktail in a beautiful and one-of-a-kind environment.

Biophilic design not only increases the likelihood of a unique and memorable experience that will stay with the guest long after they leave the hotel, but guests are twice as likely to leave a positive review after their stay and specifically mention the word “experience.” This is especially important for hotels located in urban environments. Biophilic design acts as an atmospheric stress-reliever for stressors such as urban overstimulation, light pollution, stressful interactions, and travel complications that can plague new arrivals.

Improving the guest experience

This is all part of the hospitality trend towards improving the guest experience from check-in to check out. Through the integration of biophilic design, a hotel not only sets itself apart from other conventional hotel brands, but it cultivates an immersive guest experience. The same Human Spaces report found that 36% more guests spent time in biophilic hotel spaces than non-biophilic spaces, concluding that biophilia is an instrumental part of building a complete, immersive guest experience.

Although serious research on the benefits of biophilic design continues, the scientific evidence suggesting the benefits of integrating natural elements into design only continues to pile up. In an industry constantly trying to set itself apart from the pack while meeting the needs of its clients, hotels stand to gain a lot from investing in biophilic design.

plant pot

Ambius designers are experts in enhancing the office space of businesses just like yours. Contact us to speak to one of our specialists and get the ball rolling to improve your space today.

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about the trends and the influences of design in the Hospitality industry, we recommend Hotel Trends Transforming the Guest Experience in 2018: Part 1 and Part 2!