Internationally renowned architect and designer Lauren Rottet discusses her favorite parts in the five Valencia Group hotels in which she’s had a creative hand.

Lauren Rottet

One of the hospitality industry’s top designers and architects, Lauren Rottet has changed the perspective on what it means to design a hotel, thanks to an unexpected, playful approach that takes its design cues from the outside world and a process formulated like a Hollywood production.

With outposts in Los Angeles, New York, and Shanghai, as well as on Travis Street in Houston, Rottet’s studio is known as one of the hospitality industry’s top design firms – and she is the only woman to be named a fellow by the American Institute of Architects and the International Interior Design Association, a historic honor. Her varied and wildly imaginative approach (fueled by yoga, meditation, walks on the beach, and French-press coffee) can be found flowing through the very different atmospheres of five Valencia Group hotels.

Rottet’s design work is distinguished by a laser focus on concept but also by an innate understanding, honed over decades, of how to put a guest at ease. “Being from the South, it’s your nature to be a host, and that comes across in hospitality work,” she says. “The best hotels make you feel like it’s so nice to have you here and to have you come back.” When you spike that comfort with glamour, the combination is addictive. “We want to keep them in the scene, keep them in the movie, keep them in the mood,” she says.

Here, the award-winning designer shares her favorite parts of the five Valencia Group hotels in which she’s had a creative hand.

Guest Rooms at Lone Star Court

Guest Rooms at Lone Star Court [Austin, TX]

Rottet brought a playfulness to the retro-themed spaces at Lone Star Court by using sliding barn doors for the bedrooms, bright colors, and locally made artisanal furniture. She especially loves how orange-shaded lamps create a warm glow in each room’s window, creating an exterior that shines at night with rows of glowing lights.

Portico at Hotel Valencia Riverwalk [San Antonio, TX]

As part of Hotel Valencia Riverwalk’s recent renovations, Rottet and her team made the circular indoor portico, which overlooks the river, more inviting by using rustic wood, ironwork, and handcrafted Spanish Colonial tiles.

Outdoor Patio at Hotel Valencia Santana Row

Outdoor Patio at Hotel Valencia Santana Row [San Jose, CA]

Rottet turned the old atrium area at Hotel Valencia Santana Row into an outdoor patio covered by a glass trellis. The result is an airier space that lends a more natural flow between the lobby and courtyard.

Reception at Cavalry Court [College Station, TX]

Rottet enjoyed sculpting the military-themed Cavalry Court’s check-in area, complete with an ammo box front desk, to give guests the feeling of being behind the scenes in the officers’ quarters – a mood enhanced by the original drawings of cadets on the walls.

Hotel Alessandra Entry Way

Entryway at Hotel Alessandra [Houston, TX]

At the new Hotel Alessandra, the fragmented archway in the entry is an example of the way Rottet has interwoven contemporary design with Old-World Mediterranean architecture and style.

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Cavalry CourtHotel Alessandra | Hotel Valencia Riverwalk | Hotel Valencia Santana Row | Lone Star Court