Despite its original intended use as blogging software, WordPress has succeeded to surpass many expectations and serve for much more universal purposes, turning it into a “Jack of all trades”. In many cases, WordPress is able to save a lot of effort and money for a range of rather complex websites, which would require much more resources.
Hotel and accommodation websites are among the group of websites which don’t require highly complex website infrastructure. That said, it isn’t always possible to meet requirements with a WordPress installation out-of-the-box. You might not be a hotel owner, but you may need to deal with a hotel project at some point. For this case, I will introduce you to a fine selection of tasty hotel themes for WordPress which will get the job done, no matter it’s a 5 star hotel or an AirBnB-like hostel.
The first thing you will notice when previewing Hotel Master by GoodLayers is that it offers 3 different theme styles, allowing you to save time (and money) if you want to have additional customizations on the theme. A Dark, a Light and a flat Modern style are offered within Hotel Master, contributing to the flexibility the theme offers.
Hotel Master is suited more for luxury hotels or branches who need to automate booking processes wherever they can, so using it for a small guest house or hostel might be overkill. It features fancy yet minimalist looks which is even more emphasized in the Modern style of the theme. The theme is fully responsive and aligned with modern web standards so that is also taken care of for you (it might seem self explanatory nowadays).
The theme supports multiple branches which is obviously a must if you’re creating a website for more than a single location. Seasonal pricing is also supported by the theme, and you can even take advantage of various payment gateways (PayPal, Stripe, PayMill or Authorized.net) to process the payments. The theme also includes the Master Slider plugin and the home brewed GoodLayers page builder, which is a solid deal for the price tag of $58 that the theme comes with.
Tons of other features are included in Hotel Master which would explode the boundaries of this article, so have a look and decide for yourself.
Starhotel is a good alternative to Hotel Master if you have no need for complex infrastructure like online payments or multiple hotel branches, but want to settle with something simpler yet powerful. Similar to Hotel Master, it comes in 3 different styles: Starhotel, Starmotel and Citytrip Edition.
Admittingly, the theme sports slighter less modern visuals than today’s web design standards, which is not necessarily bad (I mean my grandpa doesn’t care if the booking button is flat or shiny and round). The UX of Starhotel is pretty straightforward and probably won’t cause the visitors any trouble (I checked with my grandpa, he approves).
The theme includes the Revolution Slider plugin and Visual Composer page builder (even though WordPress page builders might not be everyone’s cup of tea). You are also able to import the theme content of the live demo into your new installation, which will most likely save you some time experimenting with the new theme. The theme will cost you $48 which is an average price for ThemeForest themes.
Paradise Cove is another exotic looking theme with lots of white space and a huge slider, making the theme ideal if you want to emphasize images. It offers a modern interface with flat visual elements, which look great on the eye. Its colorful interface makes it perfect for more exotic or vacation hotels out of the box, but like with so many other WordPress themes, it can be changed easily.
The theme includes a very handy weather widget which I personally love. It also features a vector icon font which will be useful in various situations. With many layout options and the mega menu to choose from, Paradise Cove doesn’t disappoint when it comes to flexibility. The theme is also Retina ready, responsive and built on the Twitter Bootstrap framework.
A nice plus is the ability to install and test the theme via an account on ThemeFuse’s TestLabs area on their website. This feature allows you to test and play with all the areas of the theme, including the WordPress dashboard. As with the other themes, you are able to import the live demo content for Paradise Cove into your new installation via the ‘1 Click Install’ in order to have a starting point to begin with.
The theme will set you back $55 for the Standard License and is available on ThemeFuse’s website (not on ThemeForest).
With an even fancier and more luxurious look, Philoxenia boasts a classical feel. Round corners, gradients and Serif fonts make the theme a great fit for luxurious hotel out-of-the-box.
The theme features the usual Booking form, various content types (rooms, galleries, videos and slider items) custom widgets and many other little features, including a set of ready-to-use color schemes which are also customizable without touching code. The theme also features a blog, which is not necessarily phenomenal, but should do the job if needed. I was not impressed by the Full Width page which didn’t offer much more than a clean Twenty Fifteen theme. Philoxenia makes up for this with a great collection of shortcodes and a straightforward, but solid gallery feature. The theme is responsive and Retina ready.
There is no single license available for Philoxenia, however you are able to pay $49/year for a year of access and support for all of CSSIgniter’s themes (in total 64 themes, which is a good value). Also, take a look at the other themes they offer (they have solid experience in creating themes for hotels and resorts).
VivaHotel takes a more minimalist and flexible approach here, making it a very powerful solution. With straightforward menus and features, it is very easy to setup and a recommended solution for anyone who wants a solid website up and running in short time.
The theme offers flat visuals and slick animations, aligning it well to today’s web standards (apart from some headers and background images which look a bit out of place). It includes various color schemes which make customizing the theme easy as pie. VivaHotel also boasts an interesting blog layout with lots of white space and a minimalistic structure.
The Google Fonts API is integrated within the theme allowing you to use hundreds of fonts from Google Fonts directly, making your life a bit easier. Furthermore, VivaHotel includes the Revolution Slider plugin. There is also a big hyped Promo page feature included in the theme, but clicking on it gave me a 404 error, so I’m not sure what to expect of that.
Included is also the usual, like: reservation form, responsiveness, Retina ready, custom widgets, shortcodes and tons of other small tweaks. Worth mentioning here are the PSD files which are also included in the standard license. The theme will set you back $48.
Hotel themes are one of the most complex categories WordPress is widely used for. Taking advantage of the right theme to get the job done is critical and could save you hours of work trying to make a theme work for you. I hope this small selection will help you to narrow down your needs and find a suitable solution for your next hotel website gig.
Elio is a open source designer and founder of Ura Design. He coordinates community initiatives at SitePoint as well. Further, as a board member at Open Labs Hackerspace, he promotes free software and open source locally and regionally. Elio founded the Open Design team at Mozilla and is a Creative Lead at Glucosio and Visual Designer at The Tor Project. He co-organizes OSCAL and gives talks as a Mozilla Tech Speaker at various conferences. When he doesn’t write for SitePoint, he scribbles his musings on his personal blog.