[dropcap size=small]H[/dropcap]otels are turning to jazzing up elevators to provide that extra bit of oomph. To be sure, there are always a few seconds of suspense in between snazzy hotel lobbies and guest rooms, where veritable strangers are confined together.

“Elevators have always been an awkward space. Putting art in there creates a talking point,” says Satinder Garcha, founder of real estate firm Elevation Developments that owns luxury boutique hotel Hotel Vagabond in Syed Alwi Road. Here, a video installation titled Evolution by Milan-born artist Marco Brambilla acts as a conversation starter. The film scrolls horizontally to reveal an apocalyptic landscape, composed of cinematic characters like a roaring King Kong, and clips from Star Wars and E.T., complete with lightning bolts.

“Some guests were so engrossed (in the art) that they missed their stop,which shows the idea is working even better than expected,” says Garcha.

Where music was once played to soothe the jangled nerves of anxious riders back in the 1940s when elevator rides were bumpier,it is now used to entertain. At boutique hotel QT Sydney in Australia, lifts are equipped with sensors to detect the number of people and play music accordingly. So, a single rider might be treated to a wrenching soundtrack of Frank Sinatra’s All Alone,while a group moves to groovy tunes like MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This.

Even international brands like Marriott are thinking out of the box and turning elevators in its new Moxy hotels into photo booths fitted with red velvet curtains and props. Says Vicki Poulos, global brand director for Moxy, to international daily The Wall Street Journal: “You’re sitting there for five to 10 seconds waiting. We want to entertain you and give our guests an opportunity to gain some social currency.”