A vanity table at Blantyre Resort in the Berkshires invites guests to experience a different type of luxury.
Hotels are on a mission to differentiate themselves; whether it’s creative food and beverage concepts or day camps for kids, the better and more unique the offerings, the more appealing the hotel.
Today, hotels are constantly perfecting the “experience”. It’s not just about perfectly decorated rooms or one-of-a-kind art prints; it’s about providing an experience you won’t get anywhere else.
A few of my favorites (all of which we’ve talked about in this column on 4Hoteliers) include:
- The personal trainers on the televisions in guest rooms at the Four Seasons Los Angeles, Beverly Hills
- Watching the Hong Kong light show from the highest hotel in the world at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
- Looking at treasured pieces of the past in guest rooms, like commodes owned by Marilyn Monroe at Blantyre Resort in Lenox, Mass.
These are just a few of the small, but unique offerings that give hotels a stand out quality, luring guests back time of time. When Marriott’s Autograph Collection launched a few years ago, the mission of the portfolio was to ensure hotel had something special to offer customers. As the portfolio grows, so does its uniqueness.
Keep reading more from my column on 4Hoteliers
I recently launched a new feature on Boston.com travel column called “Dramatic Designs”. The feature focuses on the unique, extraordinary and completely stunning amenities, artwork and attributes you might find in a hotel. The feature runs every Monday, so tune in to see what I’m highlighting! In the meantime, here’s a sneak-peak from one of my favorite New York City hotels, the Gramercy Park Hotel:
At the top of the Gramercy Park Hotel is the rooftop garden and Gramercy Terrace, which leads to the outdoor dining and entertainment space, and the dramatic Drawing Room at the hotel. There are approximately 4,000 light bulbs in the Drawing Room’s ceiling art, which was conceived by Julian Schnabel. If you’re worried about energy efficiency, only 2 percent of those light bulbs actually light up.
Read more in my ‘Pack Up‘ column.
It’s one of life’s simple pleasures… sitting in a fluffy robe, tucked into a cashmere throw and overlooking a picturesque view from your guest room window at a luxury hotel while you dine on room service.
Gone are the days when room service is limited to soupy oatmeal and cold pizza. Today’s luxury hotels have mastered the art of fine dining in your guest room, and have taken room service to a science, instead of simply a requirement. Today, you don’t need to sacrifice good food for comfort. In-room dining has taken on a five-star service of its own, and it’s worth staying in for.
On a recent trip to New York City, I arrived the Mandarin Oriental New York after a bumpy flight from Punta Cana to JFK. The weather in New York was rain, rain, and more rain, and the cab line at the airport was filled with travelers crammed together in the open air trying to shelter themselves from the storm while waiting for a cab. After 30 minutes in line and a 45-minute ride into the city, I arrived the hotel soaked to the bone, starving and in need of some serious down time. I ordered room service and anxiously awaited for my bowl of wonton soup and side of steamed vegetables to arrive. Less than 30 minutes later there was a knock at my door, and within minutes a white-tableclothed tray had been set up perfectly in front of the TV, decorated with silver utensils and a pink orchid in a crystal vase. The display was beautiful, the food was divine.
Departures Magazine recently pulled together some of their favorite hotels that do room service to perfection. Next time you’re holed up in a hotel, consider dining in instead of dressing up to go out… Read about the hotel room service in the industry in my ‘Pack Up‘ column.
Milan is known for many things—art, design, decor and most importantly, fashion—but when it comes to hotels, Milan continuously fights for the spotlight against its sister cities of Rome and Venice. So when Starhotels’ boutique E.c.ho. opened in September 2011, it brought not only a new energy to the hotel industry in the trendy Italian city, it added a new trend: green.
“Even though Milan is the ‘undisputable fashion capitol of Italy’, they’ve been really late to the game as far as luxe and/or design hotel brands,” said John Clifford, president of International Travel Management.
“There haven’t been a lot of new hotels in Milan, except for Armani in 2011. The market is still really sluggish, but it’s got a really healthy economy,” he said.
Italy’s hotel industry posted a slight year-over-year decline in revenue per available room in local currency during February, according to STR Global. Milan’s decrease was more pronounced at 4.8%. During 2011, however, the market recorded a RevPAR increase of 7%. There are more than 600 new hotels throughout Italy since December 2010, according to STR Global.
While Italy’s economy has experienced its fair amount of volatility, its designers are continuing on a path of expansion, particularly in the hotel industry. From Missoni to Armani and Bulgari to Ferragamo, fashion-inspired hotels have defined the travel personality of the city in recent years.
Read more about the opening of Hotel E.c.ho in my report on HotelNewsNow.com
It’s time to shed the image of dark boardrooms and stuffy conference spaces. Hotels are reinventing their meetings spaces in an effort to appeal to a younger, hipper and more tech-savvy crowd.
Today’s hotel conference rooms are equipped with updated technology, adjusted lighting based on time of day and “mood” settings. The new features offer innovative options that bring a bit of culture into the traditionally drab meetings space while also focusing more on the work-life balance that busy execs juggle on a daily basis.
Working with Steelcase and IDEO, Marriott Hotels & Resorts intends to add more appeal to its hotel’s meeting spaces, giving the next generation of meeting planners something to look forward to.
“By 2013, almost 35% of the global workforce will be mobile. We are designing hotels for a new generation that is used to working how, where and oftentimes whenever they want,” said Paul Cahill, senior VP of brand management for Marriott.
At InterContinental Hotels Group, getting people out of the meeting room is just as important as getting them in. As part of the newly-implemented InterContinental Meetings system the hotels offer insights from their “Insider Collection,” which provides a range of local experience options for guests to enjoy when they’re not in the boardroom, ranging from off-site excursions to community involvement and team building exercises. At Mandarin Oriental, the hotel group has been working on more creative angles to help build interest in meeting and planning spaces. The newest trend in meetings is taking place outside of the conventional meeting rooms.
Read the entire article from exclusive column on Hotel News Now
More hotels are getting into a healthier travel space; just a few weeks ago, InterContinental Hotels announced they are launching a new brand, EVEN, that will be specifically designed for exercise fanatics and guests who want a more heart-healthy hotel experience.
IHG’s healthy hotel announcement, other brands have arrived at the forefront offering a glimpse of what guests can do to get healthy while traveling.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ Element Hotels recently announced a new initiative that will blend the brand’s commitment to always providing fitness options to guests with green design and functionality.
Element Hotels will introduce pedal-powered generators on stationary bikes in its fitness centers (below), allowing guests to generate electricity and charge their own personal electronic devices as they work out. The new bikes were unveiled in Miami at the Element Miami International Airport, the newest Element Hotel.
Read more from my column in 4Hoteliers
Though it’s been open for only a few months, the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s newest Radisson Blu already is making waves in India’s typically laid-back beach town.
The 132-room Radisson Blu Resort Goa Cavelossim Beach is typical of Blu’s development strategy. While the brand is established in many major cities, it has a history of opening in locations that are near the newest hot spot—Limerick instead of Shannon, Ireland; Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; and Turku instead of Helsinki, Finland—but far enough away to make an impression.
“Goa is a key destination with its white sandy beaches, forts, churches, temples, ancestral Portuguese houses and warm hospitality,” said Rajendran Menon, VP of operations for the hotel.
Read more about the opening from my column on HotelNewsNow.com
Those of us who work in the travel industry know it’s not enough to just connect with guests and consumers online – we have to be on top of all the ways communication works today; that means for hotels with thousands of rooms in hundreds of countries….
Keeping up with new forms of social media can get chaotic, but today’s new media – and the way consumers approach new media – is all about being fast, influential and unique. So when I heard of Pinterest, a new social media platform built on the idea of posting pictures people find “inspirational”, I was intrigued.
Can another new platform really peak interest? Will it help drive revenue to businesses or create new opportunities for consumers? Pinterest’s concept is simple: find what you like on the web and “pin” it to your account (called “boards”) so others can see it. This spans the gamut of industries from cooking to fashion to travel, but is it a worthwhile avenue for hotels to explore?
Read more about what Pinterest means to hotels from my column in 4Hoteliers.
From skyscrapers to villa retreats, new developments keep popping up in Thailand’s capital city, giving travelers a more diverse set of options when it comes to hotels. New to the scene: The Siam Hotel, which intends to keep luxury exclusive and bring a bit of recluse back to the city.
The hotel is set to open in March 2012, but the build-up to this boutique Bangkok hotel is brimming. The owners, a famous Thai family of musicians and actors, conceived the notion of the Siam after being gifted the land. The Siam is privately owned and managed by Siam Hotels & Resorts, with input and financing from the Sukosol family.
The 39-suite luxury retreat in the city’s historic Dusit district features some typical hotel amenities—and some not-so-typical. Conceived by Thai rock star and film actor Krissada Sukosol Clapp and acclaimed architect and designer Bill Bensley, the urban luxury hotel includes pool villas, open-air rooftop terraces, four traditional Thai teak wood houses inspired by Thai silk designer Jim Thompson, a private art gallery, Thai boxing ring and a private screening room.
But can it lure luxury guests to Bangkok? Read more in my column on HotelNewsNow.com
New York’s East Side is a story of wealth, glamour and greed. It’s home to some of the most iconic buildings in the city, as well as some of the most famous landmarks in the nation. Through the years, the East Side has seen its share of deceit and descent, but through its tumultuous past it has remained one of the most coveted addresses in the world. The hotels that line the East Side of Manhattan have interesting tales to tell, among them the Carlyle Hotel, The Pierre and the Renaissance New York Hotel 57 — three hotels with three very different stories to tell of affluence, affiliation and aspiration.
New York in the 1920s was filled with ideas of growth, ambition and indulgence. The beginning effects of the Great Depression were still years away, and much money was to be made, and had, in New York City. From bank world centers to prohibition parlors, New York then was as diverse and coveted as it is today. Our tour starts at 35 East 76th Street at Madison Avenue, where the famous Carlyle Hotel resides along Manhattan’s legendary Gold Coast.
The Carlyle Hotel…Then: The 35-story Carlyle Hotel opened in 1930 as one of Manhattan’s premier properties, dominating the skyline on the Upper East Side. Its guests were equally as rich as its interior designs. The hotel’s guest book reads like a “Who’s Who” of the world’s most talked about figures – presidents, heads of state, kings and queens all called the Carlyle home at one point, including the late Princess Diana of Wales, as well as Hollywood elites. The Carlyle grew to become a mecca for the world’s most influential individuals who visited New York. But it’s the hotel’s famous Cafe Carlyle that continues to shine a light on Manhattan’s celebrated past.
The Carlyle Hotel…Now: Set straight out of a black-and-white movie scene, Cafe Carlyle is one of New York’s classic cabarets, hosting nightly shows from some of Broadway’s best known talents. On any given night you’ll find Woody Allen, Steve Tyrell and John Pizzarelli reminiscing over their days growing up in New York. The cafe seats up to 90 for a performance, evoking a supper club atmosphere that takes any generation back to the days of a budding Upper East Side. You’ll want to dress up for a night at Café Carlyle – after all, and after almost 50 years, the cabaret club is still the see-and-be-seen place among Manhattan’s elite. Famed Broadway actress Elaine Stritch recently took the stage at the Cafe Carlyle, crooning about her days as a young woman vying for parts on Broadway, and sleeping her nights in the corner room at Carlyle Hotel. It was during her performance that she waxed poetic about the Carlyle, recalling the wise words of her husband John Bay who once said, “Everything looks better from the corner room of the Carlyle Hotel.”
Read more from my column on Boston.com