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hotel room with custom bed design hiding a desk and wardrobe

Catbird Hotel: Reinventing Extended Stay

Aside from providing insightful, thoughtful perspectives and services, hospitality designers have a huge responsibility to create spaces that reflect the contemporary guest that is as dynamic as they are. Our team is constantly paying close attention to how society is traveling, guest expectations, and forecasting trends to design authentically unique spaces built with the future in mind.

Travelers know what to expect when visiting long-term stay hotels because, typically, they’re a copy of a prototype. In response to the incredible events of the past two years, hoteliers have been reconsidering how their spaces serve guests and how to modify them to meet their current and future needs. In response, our team worked to shift the image of extended stay to one that is defined by individuality and charm.

Before we were all forced to think more critically about adaptable spaces, Sage Hospitality Group was at the forefront of incorporating flexible design in extended-stay hotels and how to bring characteristics of luxury into the market. The Catbird, Sage’s newest boutique extended-stay hotel, has set a new standard and has been widely applauded in the Denver market. DLR Group’s design team worked with Sage to create an extended-stay brand defined by its variety in space reflective of its location and guest demographic.

Photo by Daniel Kelleghan

Shifting Away from the Prototype

The hotel opened in December 2021 in the eclectic River North Art District (RiNo) neighborhood, a strategic location that might be surprising for an extended-stay hotel. Catbird’s unique location is in the middle of a bustling city, allowing weekend guests or long-term travelers alike to enjoy its custom-built, multi-functional living spaces. DLR Group’s design approach for this brand revolves around blurring the lines between home and hotel and creating a personality that inspires during each visit. Our design is inspired by the surrounding art district of industrial brick buildings from the past, neighbored by new, modern styles. The interior design harnessed this blur, crafting a palette and aesthetic that pairs a multitude of styles, from contemporary, to vintage, and eclectic.

Each of the 165 rooms in Catbird is unique, and the design team curated each room’s aesthetic with the same intention a homeowner would for their own personal space. Catbird is fashioned with 165 pieces of original art, which speaks the design team’s testament to providing a space with endless opportunities for exploration and variety during each visit. The sophisticated, yet playful design invites short- and long-term travelers to revel and relax in color, casual softness, and design-savvy. The cravings for a guest on a weekend vacation, or a tech employee with a three-week stay, are all met with the guestrooms’ sophisticated and creatively hidden design features. Each item in the hotel, from the art and décor to the materials used, was carefully and deliberately handpicked to build a space that feels designed uniquely for each guest and communicates the prioritization of comfort, convenience, and overall warmness.

Photo by Daniel Kelleghan

Making Room for Work and Play

For Catbird, our team deviated from the traditional multi-room living space extended stays are known for and adopted the traditional hotel model, allowing Sage to take full advantage of the building’s space and allowing guests to avoid “clutter fatigue.” Our team asked ourselves, “If a guest will be here from a week to a month, how can the design allow things to move around so the space doesn’t become cluttered?” We shifted from the traditional stationary room design towards one that can be taken apart and moved around based on needs and wants.

This notion of being able to create a space that moves with guests is one that will differentiate modern designs from dated ones; instead of the guest adapting to the room, the room adapts to the guest. Guests won’t look at the same scenery each day if they don’t want to, and they don’t have to worry about moving around clunky furniture to make room for meeting space, other guests, and possessions. Catbird radiates simplicity, convenience, and ingenuity.

A Place You (Actually) Want to Call Home

This notion of movability has become increasingly important as travel increases but concern for health and comfort remains. Catbird is equipped with anything the “homebody” guest needs. There are opportunities for social collisions outside of the guest rooms, but should guests prefer to rely solely on a room, that option is always there. The integrated kitchenette is filled with all the high-end appliances needed to make a great meal. A small television, as well as a semi-concealed projector and blackout roller shade for large windows provide guests with enhanced viewing of their favorite shows or movies. Bathrooms also feature hand-glazed tile and large stone-top vanities that transport guests into their own personal spa, allowing them to see their room as a retreat, not confinement.

The design team had to meticulously study how to dovetail the sum of parts with an elevated long-term guest experience. The patent-pending, custom loft bed – intentionally planned within the room to create a separate bedroom zone – is meticulously designed for maximum storage. The creation of this bed required the careful curation of scale and mass to ensure it did not encroach on the space but blended organically with the room. It can be opened to reveal hidden wardrobe pullouts and a full-size desk when needed for work or dining. The guestroom’s sofa is a modern sleeper bed for guests in larger groups, or for deeply relaxing in the space.

A Splash on Extended Stay

So, what does this mean for the future of extended stay properties? We must rethink the experiences we provide guests by creating an environment that attracts guests back and adds something special to their travel experience, regardless of its purpose.  The objective of the vagabond should be just as special to the hotelier as the objective of the work traveler, and the way they feel when they depart should bring them back to the same location. Why? Because each time it feels different, each time the guest moves through the space differently and takes in the city differently.

Video by Kelleghan Productions, Inc.

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