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[Case Study] How Natura Transformed The DoubleTree Hilton Hotel with Biophilic Design

Step into the rejuvenated DoubleTree Hilton at San Antonio Airport. Natura’s recent collaboration with Hilton Hotels brought their old designs to life with the help of a creative design team and flexible payment scheduling. This new biophilic design brought significant return on investment to the DoubleTree through enhanced brand image, increased customer satisfaction, and overall increased brand loyalty.

In today's modern hotel industry, merely offering accommodation isn't sufficient for survival. To truly compete, hotels must deliver an exceptional all-around experience for their guests, requiring managers to adapt to evolving consumer preferences. This is where our expertise comes into play. Collaborating with Hilton, we revitalized their DoubleTree at San Antonio Airport through the power of biophilic design. Despite a few challenges, mutual flexibility paved the way for a successful project completion and yielded positive, long-term benefits for Hilton.

Overview of The Doubletree Hilton San Antonio Airport

Located just Across-410, the DoubleTree by Hilton San Antonio Airport is right in between the luxurious La Cantera mall/resort and the vibrant San Antonio Riverwalk. Whether guests are traveling for business or for pleasure, the Hilton promises an overall welcoming experience for people from all walks of life.

Project Overview

Natura's collaboration with Hilton extends beyond the airport project, having successfully partnered on several ventures, including the Estancia location. Building on this proven track record, Hilton entrusted us with revitalizing the airport site. The existing plantscaping had lost its synergy with the hotel, with oversized containers detracting from the space's harmony. Acknowledging the need for a transformation, Hilton partnered with Natura again to reimagine the space, restoring the vibrant atmosphere that defined the hotel's essence.

The initial biophilic design in the hotel had grown outdated, featuring oversized containers with old plant designs that no longer resonated with the space or its guests. Recognizing the need for revitalization, Hilton partnered with Natura to inject new life into the environment while retaining the existing containers owned by Hilton.

The Journey

Two primary challenges were tackled during the project. The first challenge was redesigning the plant layout in the hotel and selecting new plants to complement the larger containers and create a balanced atmosphere. The second challenge involved navigating the budget restraints of the project. Despite these hurdles, Natura’s innovative solutions not only met but exceeded Hilton’s expectations. 

Challenge 1: Redesign with existing containers

In terms of design, a significant challenge for our team was rejuvenating the space using the existing oversized containers at DoubleTree. Balancing the size of these containers with the right plants was crucial. We addressed this by not only changing the plant selection but also strategically adjusting the placement and positioning of the larger containers. This not only enhanced the aesthetic but also transformed the perception of size for guests entering the hotel.

Solution: A Client-Centered Approach

We carefully listened to Hilton's requirements and expertly balanced their preferences, preserving the containers while adding fresh plant designs. 

By strategically rotating the containers to alter their appearance within the space, this simple adjustment allowed us to introduce fresh design elements by changing the containers' positions. Additionally, the overall look was refreshed by replacing all the plant varieties.

In key areas such as the reception table, we introduced a few new small containers, a change that was well received by Hilton.

“My favourite feature is the reception table at Airport Doubletree.” — Doak Walker, VP of Operations, Presedian.

Interested in introducing biophilic design to your office space? Connect with us and one of our experts will be in touch.

(Images supplied by The DoubleTree Hilton) 

Prior to revealing the new layout to Hilton's guests and the public, the team conducted thorough inspections and walkthroughs to ensure that the design met the stringent standards of both parties.

“The people and guests notice and they make decisions based on the design.”  — Doak Walker, VP of Operations, Presedian.

Challenge 2: Navigating Budget Constraints

The second major obstacle we encountered was the budget. When we undertook this project, many companies in the hospitality industry, including the Hilton, were still struggling with the financial impact of the pandemic. 

Solution: Tailored Payment Phases

Addressing the financial concerns was integral at every stage of the design process. Natura collaborated with Hilton to devise a phased approach, encompassing phases 1, 2, and 3, each featuring distinct scheduled payments. 

This structured approach proved invaluable in accommodating budget constraints while ensuring the project's successful progression.

“We knew what we wanted, and the redesign was important. The services outweigh the savings. You worked with us to make sure this was a good investment.” — Doak Walker, VP of Operations, Presedian.

The Results

In addition to the aesthetic appeal of Common Desk's environment, this project generated numerous other outcomes that differentiated the company and played a pivotal role in its growth and success.

  • Return on Investment (ROI): The redesign project proved to be highly profitable. The revitalized DoubleTree Hilton not only attracted more guests but also elevated Hilton's brand image in the market. The introduction of vibrant and carefully selected plants created an inviting and aesthetically pleasing atmosphere, contributing to a positive perception of the hotel's commitment to quality and guest experience. In the long run, the investment in the redesign project translated into increased brand loyalty. Guests not only appreciated the visual enhancements but also associated the revitalized DoubleTree Hilton with positive experiences, influencing their decision to choose Hilton for future stays.
  • Enhancing the Overall Atmosphere: The Integration of greenery into the design not only enhanced the aesthetic appeal of the Doubletree Hilton but also created a rejuvenating environment for both guests and employees. The calming presence of plants has been a source of tranquillity, promoting a sense of relaxation and connection to nature that significantly enriches the guest experience.
  • Continued Collaboration: While this wasn’t our first time working with the Hilton, this project marked a notably positive influence on our relationship. We assisted them in sustained growth within the fiercely competitive hotel industry, all without requiring DoubleTree to make layout changes they were unprepared for. Since the project's completion, our collaboration with Hilton persists, contributing to creating thriving spaces within their hotels. 

In a nutshell, Natura’s enhancements played a pivotal role in preserving The DoubleTree Hilton’s status as a premier destination for travellers visiting San Antonio.  

“If we needed impact, we did it! People want to be in our hotels.” — Doak Walker, VP of Operations, President.

Still not convinced about the power of biophilic design in the workplace? Read our blog: Plants and corporate well-being: the perfect pairing. 

What the customer had to say

““The space looks cleaner and nicer. Natura provided options to make a custom design that looks great! They allowed for phases to the project, they were receptive and very knowledgeable about the plants, and they provided very interesting ideas. There is quality to their service and maintenance. They were great at helping to provide packages that worked for our budget. It was a good experience. The positive experience was based on identifying, collaborating, and making it what it should be.” — Doak Walker, VP of Operations, Presedian.


The partnership between Natura and The Doubletree Hilton San Antonio Airport is a testament to our expertise in biophilic design. We successfully navigated challenges, rejuvenating the hotel while preserving existing containers and adhering to budget constraints. The final design exceeded Hilton's expectations, resulting in increased bookings, heightened customer and employee satisfaction, and an enhanced brand image.

Our commitment to excellence and client satisfaction has further elevated the Doubletree Hilton's status as a renowned destination and also solidified a lasting partnership founded on trust and collaboration. This project once again highlights our ability to create spaces where guests don't just feel welcomed but also deeply connected to nature. In this project, we embraced challenges as opportunities for innovation and excellence, reaffirming our unwavering dedication to exceeding expectations in all our endeavours.

Furthermore, the biophilic design influenced the guest experience at the DoubleTree Hilton by infusing the hotel with an invigorating environment. The carefully selected plants served as more than decor—they played a central role in a multisensory journey for guests. Whether finding solace at the reception or enjoying the verdant atmosphere within the hotel, guests felt enveloped by nature, enhancing their stay and fostering a memorable connection to the DoubleTree Hilton experience.

Looking for further inspiration of biophilic design, read our blog on 9 inspiring examples of biophilic design, or explore our portfolio to discover more of our remarkable projects.