The design of DDRM projects whether hotels or master planned villages or communities, focuses on creating a setting that conveys a "sense of community" within the context of its natural surroundings. Even when people are seeking privacy and sanctuary they respond to the "community." This design objective encompasses creating a place where people want to "see and be seen." DDRM’s Guiding Development Principles have been tested and refined over the years to accomplish this critical objective.
Give the Guest/Resident Lots of Choices
- The Project needs a critical mass of “experiences”.
- There needs to be a critical mass of retail, dining and entertainment (centrally-located) at a level commensurate with the Project.
- The Project needs a high critical mass of “warm beds” (hotel, fractional, & condo) to help ensure activity and energy year-round.
For master planned villages one hotel by itself will not be as effective as a cluster of hospitality and residential products.
Provide Seamless Linkages and Connections
- Create a seamless environment with high design experiences, activities, restaurants, bars, or stores along both sides of a main walkway. Outdoors, these activities and storefronts should continuously link together the anchor components of the Project.
- This walkway system should be simple without numerous side streets, walkways, or directional options.
- The roadways or walkways should not be so wide as to appear empty because they will lose the energy required to attract people. A little congestion is a good thing in a hospitality environment.
- In a village environment, taller buildings along the roadways and walkways (over the hotel dining experiences or retail) will help create energy and provide a seamless experience.
- The linkage from the airport to the Project is extremely important and should be easy, simple, and as seamless as possible. The experience starts with the trip, not arrival on the Project site.
People Love to Discover but Hate to Explore
- There should be a sense of excitement about discovering what is next within the Project.
- This sense of discovery is best implemented by an exciting succession of rooms or places and curved or blind pathways or walkways.
- There should be a varying mix of experiences within the Project.
- Use intriguing and exciting design features – maximize the “cool stuff”.
- The guest should never feel lost or uncomfortable. There should always be a central icon or reference point in the Project that will allow the guest to regain their bearings. The lighting should be adequate for the guest/resident to feel safe.
Guests Must Have the Opportunity for Different Experiences Each Visit
- The elements of the Project should provide changing guest/resident experiences. There needs to be a wide range of things to do when visiting. The activities need not be on the site, but offsite experiences must be well organized and easily accessible.
- The Project should attract or create a steady stream of diverse, exclusive, and elegant events. The design level should be high enough to support consistent restaurant and nightclub promotion programs (where applicable).
- Activities for all four seasons need to be emphasized and marketed.
- Easy access to retail should be a major focus. Shopping is the number one recreational activity for people on vacation.
Access for Pedestrians and Vehicles Should Be Safe, Simple and Convenient
- There should never be confusion about how to enter or where to park. Valet parking locations must be obvious.
- Pedestrians must have direct and easy access.
- Signage must be easy to read and easy to understand. Even as a design element, it should be clear and obvious. Guests must be able to find their way without confusion.
- Signage as a design element (especially high design) must be very clear and obvious.
Parking is Everything – It Must Be Adequate, Simple and Convenient
- Parking design and number of spaces should be the result of a study by a qualified engineer with a ‘mixed-use’ background.
- Parking structures should be designed so that users are not uncomfortably constrained.
- Parking needs to be highly convenient.
- For the villages, parking should be located in places that are hidden from the main view corridors into and out of the village.
Tell the ‘Story’ and Then Let the Guests Live It!
- Create a subtle theme or identity based on a ‘story’ and design the Project to illustrate it. The story can be as simple as “this is a cool place,” and can include the exclusive nature of the Project. No matter what the story, high design should be employed.
- Make sure the ‘story’ works for the demographic profile of the people that will visit the Project.
- In developing the ‘story’, utilize the natural resources, amenities and local culture.
- Make sure the phasing of the Project helps perpetuate the ‘story’.
Provide Experiences for Residents and Visitors Alike
- Create a gathering place for residents and visitors, offering appropriate experiences to generate demand – a place to be and be seen.
- Provide attractions for locals when possible. Out-of-town guests like to hang out with the locals – especially in resort environments.
Abide by the 2,400 Foot Rule
- Maximum distance people will walk in a leisure environment (on vacation): 2,400 feet (slightly less than one-half mile)
- Comfortable distance people will walk in a leisure environment (on vacation): 1,800 feet
- Safe distance people will walk in a leisure environment (on vacation): 1,200 feet
- Maximum distance people will walk from parking in an urban shopping environment: 600 feet
Provide Uncommon or Unique Goods & Services and Provide Common Goods & Services in an Uncommon or Unique Way
- Offer specialty or impulse shopping that might include one-of-a-kind local crafts and have retail that involves local tenants and/or unique national tenants.
- Foster unique entertainment experiences including local vendors.
The Little Things Make a Big Difference
- Even when the big things are done right, a place can feel cold or awkward without the human touches and attention to detail that tell the clientele somebody is paying attention and cares.
- Sometimes little things are obvious, such as attentive service or nice towels. Sometimes they are more subtle and might only be noticed by the most astute or self-aware. When such subtleties are noticed, the observer is almost guaranteed to be a guest for life.
- Choose five differentiating design items and build the hotel or village around them. “The Five Things” will invoke word-of-mouth discussion for guests who visit DDRM projects.
- Interiors should be sensitive to design trends, colors, materials, and textures.
Use Eco-Conscious Design Elements
- The Project should exhibit a high degree of eco-consciousness.
- The Project should be cognizant of the sun and wind, and seasonal wind studies should be completed before the design process starts.
- Although each Project is different, there should be a common commitment to the use of sustainable and eco-sensitive products and systems as well as operating supplies, materials, fabrics, and equipment.
- This commitment must start on the first day of planning and should be part of the “story” of the Project (Principle 7).
As part of the design principles, DDRM has a “Department of Cool Stuff” (See Principles 3, 7, and 11.) In the DCS, company staff members are constantly searching for new and interesting products, materials, ideas and other items that will invoke conversation and create the differentiating design elements of our projects. An example of a source of inspiration is Fashion Runway Shows which are chronicled and story-boarded to help guide the material, texture, and color decisions for interiors and operational fabrics, supplies and equipment. DDRM’s commitment to design and create truly desirable places is relentless in all of our Projects. In addition to our staff, the consultants engaged in DDRM Projects are indoctrinated to the importance of these objectives. The end result is a Project that esthetically fits with the location, captivates the imagination, and creates a natural magnetism that draws the guest back.