From the Floor Up

Balancing Brand Reputation, Budget, and Style in Hospitality Design

Posted by Daltile Team on Sep 2, 2015 8:30:00 PM

A Word from Dal-Tile’s Product Design Director
Slate Radiance in Cactus Random I mosaic

Remember those old plate spinning acts? A line of a dozen delicate china plates spinning atop a thin stick? The performer running between plates making sure everything stays just so or the whole thing comes down in a spray of porcelain shards?

Hospitality projects can often feel just like that. One little slip and something comes crashing down. It’s a delicate balance to keep all the architectural plates spinning. You have to meet demands for durability, represent the standards of the brand, keep the architectural features looking fresh—but not so trendy that it looks outdated in a few years—and on top of all that, you have to stay on time and on budget.

At least one of those plates is getting easier to maintain. Hospitality tile has emerged as a product that meets all those demands.

Dal-Tile’s own—Massimo Ballucchi, director of product design—recently took a closer look at hospitality flooring for Modern Builder and Design magazine. Here’s what he suggests to keep things spinning—when it comes to the floor at least.

Spark in Smoky Glimmer 12 x 24 and Toasted Luster 24 x 24 on the floor with Smoky Glimmer 12 x 24 thin on the wall

Brand Reputation

Whether guests realize it or not, what they are walking on influences their experience. It isn’t often that people pay attention to what’s under their feet, but you pay attention to it because you have to in order to ensure people love their experience. The floor is the foundation of the room. It sets the stage for the design and the physical comfort of guests and hospitality staff. It begins to define the brand of the establishment.

Mr. Ballucchi explained it this way to Modern Builder and Design, “Hotels must appeal to their particular customer and deliver on the quality and aesthetics they have come to expect when they stay away from home.” And tile flooring makes this almost effortless:
•    It stands up to the high-traffic and wear and tear that comes with a hospitality setting.
•    Styling is current but timeless so décor is up-to-date.
•    It is easy to repair if tiles crack or loosen—no replacing the whole floor.
•    Cleaning is simple so tile always looks fresh.

You create an environment that people come to trust and return to again and again. All in all, you are able to keep everyone—corporate, staff, and guests—happy.


Far too often you have to make flooring decisions based on the budget. In most cases, that might limit your options. But not anymore. Once again, from Massimo Ballucchi: “Tile manufacturers’ use of digital printing technology has allowed designers to create visuals never before imagined, even by Mother Nature.” These incredible visuals aren’t necessarily making tile more costly and exclusive, but more accessible, especially when you consider look-alike tile designs. Digital images of wood, fabric, concrete, stone, and metallics can be tweaked until they look perfect. You get the look of high-end flooring materials with porcelain durability and price points.

Wood-look tiles, stone-look tiles, and many others look so authentic that even industry pros have to practically put their noses on the tile to get a close enough look to tell it apart from the real thing. These materials are so true to the natural material that you’ll instinctually have to touch it to figure it out.

Mr. Ballucchi and his team go beyond basic natural designs and combine visuals like fabric and stone for an old-world sensibility. Or cotto clay-look with watermarking for a distinguished tone-on-tone texture.

Forest Park in White Oak 9 x 36 and Willowgrove 6 x 36


Maybe you want to make your work so invisible that only the brand shines through. But maybe you want to make sure no one can miss the hard work you put into a design. No matter which camp you’re in, the floor is the perfect place to meet your goals. 

Mr. Ballucchi stands by a couple of trends that are sure not to disappoint. Rectangular tile is hot right now but promises to look great for years to come. It works on the floor and the wall for a harmonious design and comes in several different sizes from linear mosaics to 12 x 24 to 6 x 36 planks.Large Format tile on the floor and slab stone on the wall

By far, the most popular rectangular tile is the plank. Wood-look is the new favorite because of its warmth. It makes the space feel homey and what could be better than a homey feel in hospitality? The visuals in the wood-look tile include classics like warm oak to exotic looks like acacia wood. A recent favorite is the reclaimed-look. This barn wood style tile looks weathered with chipping paint and water stain details. It is great for designs that include the antique vibe.

Beside the plank, the 12 x 24 is a huge success in hospitality design. It’s the more sophisticated sister to the ever-popular 12 x 12. It brings the design to the 21st century and maintains a sense of luxury. It is available in all types of styles including stone looks and modern fabric or polished concrete looks.

Balancing a hospitality design is no small feat. But at least you know that one element will be a little easier to keep spinning in the circus act of hospitality projects.

Topics: Commercial

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