Steal the Look: Lifestyle Hotels Love To Use Vintage Rugs

The hospitality industry, particularly the restaurant and hotel sectors, is increasingly fixated on providing authentic, handmade, unique, and narrative or “story-led” environments. Key to the success of these new environments (often labelled as “lifestyle”) are handmade vintage rugs which have become “go-to” global hospitality features. We look at how four new hip hotels – one in the US, one in Scotland, one in Wales, and one in India – use vintage handmade Oriental rugs so you can steal the look for your home.


Luxurious Wall-to-Wall Wool Carpet - Handmade Vintage Rugs - Area Rugs for Guest Rooms

Until the last five years or so hotels might use area rugs for guest rooms, but they wouldn’t dream of using area rugs in high traffic areas like lobbies, hallways, and restaurants. High traffic areas were reserved for wall-to-wall carpeting. If you were unlucky in your hotel choice the carpet might resemble the orange, red, and black bold beehive design wall-to-wall carpet in horror movie classic The Shining. Or if you were lucky and stayed in a hotel like the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris during the noughties, you would have discovered luxurious wall-to-wall wool carpet featuring Madonna’s pixellated face in the hotel’s bar. Although wall-to-wall carpet hasn’t disappeared, new hip hotels are opening across the globe that feature natural fiber handmade new and vintage rugs in guest rooms as well as public areas. We take a look at four of these.

Enhanced with Oriental Rugs and Overdyed Oushak Rugs - Vintage Oriental Rugs

The Dream Hotel, Nashville

Country music capital of the world, Nashville is a city with characterful historic buildings. Opened in March 2019, the Dream Hotel is in the downtown historic district. Built behind the restored facades of two historic 19thcentury buildings are reimagined new interiors that build on the existing narrative of the site of a former hotel and saloon. The hotel’s designers used jewel-like hues of red and blue for guest room color schemes which are enhanced with Oriental rugs and overdyed Oushak rugs. Low contemporary seating in the striking black and white checkerboard reception is anchored by two vintage Oriental rugs, a 10’x14′ and a 9’x12′ layered at right angles over the larger rug. Enhanced by strategic lighting, the rug colors bounce off the optical orange reception desk creating a striking design.

Vintage Oriental Rugs - Contemporary Rugs - Oriental Carpets NYC

The Fife Arms, Braemar, Scotland

Built in 1856, this mid-size traveller’s hotel peaked in the 19thcentury then languished until it was purchased in the 21stcentury by an international art power couple. Like the Dream Hotel, the architecture and setting of the hotel in the Scottish Highlands provided the storyline for decor. The new owners built on the history to create a narrative environment rich with visual puns, contemporary art, twists on tartan (or plaid as we know it in America!) patterns, all underscored with a collection of vintage Oriental rugs. One of the contributors to the interior design said that every object in the hotel is “a clue waiting to be read”, and those of us who love vintage Oriental rugs know that the patterns are rich with clues waiting to be read. Unlike the Dream Hotel, the vintage Oriental rugs in The Fife Arms aren’t layered in a contemporary way, but centered beneath traditional armchairs and sofas to create distinct yet connected public seating areas, and small zoned areas in bedrooms.

Handmade, Vintage, Oriental, Hand Woven hanging walls rugs

The Grove, Narberth, Wales

Much smaller than The Fife Arms, the Grove is a 17thcentury stone house remodelled in the 19thcentury to include Arts and Crafts and Gothic Revival features popular at the time. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement which championed the handmade, the newly converted house-into-hotel features not vintage Oriental rugs throughout the property, as well as vintage handwoven textiles hanging on the walls. The rich visual handmade Arts and Crafts look created by the hangings and rugs is a look that can be easily translated into your home.

Geometric Tribal Flat weave Rugs - Hand-Knotted Oriental and Hand Woven rugs - Rug Experts NJ - Shahbanu Rugs

Soho House, Mumbai, India

Although it’s a members club and hotel and not open to the general public, the interior design of the newest outpost of the global members club Soho House is focused on traditional Indian craft and textiles with Oriental carpets used throughout the interior design. We particularly like they way they’ve used rugs in the seating area adjacent to the bar. A long narrow pier table divides the space. Seating either side of the dividing table seem identical, but look closer and you’ll see the areas aren’t identical twins. The two large rugs that anchor each area are the give-away. A patterned low pile rug on one side and a geometric tribal flat weave on the other side balance the look while allowing each area to be unique.

Let Us Help You Find the Perfect Rug

The rug ideas from these hotels are easily transferable to your home. Need suggestions or help? Let us help you curate your home to reflect your unique narrative with our selection of hand-knotted and handwoven rugs made with natural fibers. Visit us at our showroom near Manhattan, or schedule a video call from anywhere in the US, and our rug experts will be happy to take you on a virtual tour during your free consultation.