Travelers are increasingly on the hunt for unique, one-of-a-kind vacations. A growing number of global brands -- ones that rely on recognition of comfort, consistency, and stability -- are responding to this interest by enhancing the overall experience. No longer thought of as just a place to sleep and store luggage, these four big-box brands have created a customized, boutique feel to appeal to the discriminating traveler.
W Hotels and Resorts
With its uber-stylish interiors and hip club vibe, W was one of the first brands to offer a more personalized hotel. The W New York, for example, set the tone for hotels as a playful and vibrant space where people would actually want to spend time -- whether they were staying there or not. From the lively music-filled lobbies to the seen-and-be-seen swimming pools, W Hotels have made hotel life one of the best aspects of travel.
Hilton Hotels and Resorts
Delicious, authentic cuisine is another perk that many brand hotels are providing their guests. The Hilton's collection of hotels -- particularly those located in New Orleans -- have become dining destinations in their own right. Standouts include celebrity chef John Besh’s outpost Lüke brasserie inside the Hilton New Orleans St. Charles and Drago’s, home of the original charbroiled oyster, at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.
One of the defining features of the Sonesta brand is its art collection, which it proudly exhibits in the hotel's public spaces and guestrooms. Step inside any Sonesta hotel, and you'll find work of major artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein as well as specially commissioned pieces by up-and-coming local artists. The Sonesta Philadelphia Downtown Rittenhouse Square is just one example of how the brand promotes newcomers: the outpost’s partnership with Philadelphia’s Center for Emerging Visual Artists allows visitors a first-hand look at the works of new artists in an in-house gallery, which hosts a new exhibit every six months. The exterior of the hotel even features a 22-story tall mural by the famed abstract street artist, Momo.
Though technically a member of the Hilton brand portfolio, Embassy Suites brings stylish comfort and livability that is unique to its name. Each suite has a separate living space (trust us: the extra room is much appreciated after a long day), and, at most properties, an atrium offers guests additional space outside of their rooms to relax and take in some sun. The newly renovated locations -- like the Embassy Suites in Downtown Louisville -- feature a bold, modern aesthetic with large public seating areas to promote a sense of community.