Lesley Wong’s Feature in Hotelier Magazine

by | May 21, 2024

I’m so thrilled to share some exciting news! After dedicating over a decade to my passion for interior design, my hard work has been recognized with a feature in the latest issue of Hotelier Magazine. This recognition feels surreal, but it’s a testament to the journey I’ve been on. I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity and wanted to share the article with you.

Magazine Article:

LESLEY WONG Owner, Lesley Wong Interiors, Oshawa, Ont.

I love to walk in and take in the whole interior – good or bad. Then, seeing the potential and knowing the design direction, my creativity goes to work. But always keeping in mind the guest experience – how will they feel? Is the lobby easy to navigate? These questions and others like them keep us focused on the guest’s interaction with the space.

Q: How important is it to have sustainability at the forefront of hotel design?

A: We have grown, in part, to be a “throwaway society,” but we’re seeing the folly in that philosophy. Simple changes can be made that we’ve been seeing in hotel design, such as the complimentary amenities no longer being a one-time use item. The consideration, too, of the lifecycle of FF&E is on my mind. Using more quality-made pieces that will last a full life cycle is not only good for the environment, but also good for the bottom line.

Q: What are the top two trends in hotel interior design for 2024/2025?

A: The top trends I’m seeing for 2024/2025 are sustainable design and natural materials. Beautiful natural-wood finishes in flooring, cabinets and decor, and woven textures in fabrics and stone. A lot of brand design shows this and I feel they’re on point, considering the need for sustainable design and the move to be more of an informed consumer and steward of the planet.

Q: What are some of the top challenges you face during the design process?

A: Timing and realistic expectations. Timing has become a challenge in that there are many hotels with PIP’s that need to be done yesterday. Logistics and budget don’t always coincide with the timing of a project and that can put stress on the design. Realistic expectations are a common thread throughout the process. From engaging your designer to completion, to knowing there are many moving parts to design, we try to manage the project expectations by continuous communication. Keeping everyone in the loop truly helps.

Q: Do you have a signature design element?

A: I like to add a hint of black to a design in a subtle way. I feel this offers a place for the eye to focus as you take in a space for the first time. It doesn’t have to be much, maybe a simple black fixture finish or hardware on a piece of furniture. To me, this gives a sense of calm, as some spaces can be overwhelming.

Q: What is it about your approach to hotel design that makes you stand out?

A: We use a “guest-first” viewpoint for our approach to each design. When I first see a property that’s scheduled for renovation, I see the potential of how to sustain the operations on an everyday basis. Our approach is to create something beautiful that works for the hotelier and keeps the guests’ interaction with the space.

Q: What part of the hotel should owners spend the most time and money on?

A: Depending on the size and layout, lobbies should be invested in. First impressions are everything and you only get one chance to make a good first impression. It doesn’t have to be a big spend to make an impact. It’s better to have something well thought, again, to the guest experience, can really drive the design. Close behind in importance are the guest rooms, which should be a top priority to forget. The space your guest is sleeping in. Comfort should be a priority in the design.

Q: What is your favourite hotel project you have worked on and why?

A: One of my favourite projects has likely been one of my most challenging projects – the renovation of a hotel in northern Ontario. The building was old, not maintained and big changes needed to be made. Architecturally, there were some hurdles, but that kept impacting the design. But in the end, it was a success. The hotel now gets rave reviews and is often booked up in advance. My favourite piece in the whole design though, is the mural in the lobby. We had it commissioned by a young artist who really wowed us.

LESLEY WONG, Principal Designer

Lesley is committed to continuously keeping up with ever-changing trends and technology. But as every decorator knows, there’s no greater opportunity for learning than on-the-job experience. Lesley has worked in hospitality, commercial and residential projects and enjoys crafting customized and beautiful environments for her clients.

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