Hotel trends come and go, but the good ones set new industry standards. Here are some we hope stand the test of time.
Cool Hotels for the B-List
New hotel brands with a unique beat are focusing their attention on the country’s medium-tier cities. Graduate Hotels’ college-themed properties are popping up in classic university towns like Ann Arbor, Michigan and Charlottesville, Virginia. The art-focused, Kentucky-based 21c Museum Hotels are expanding into mid-tier markets in the South and Midwest, including Louisville and Oklahoma City; each one has a prominent exhibition space showcasing a revolving list of artists.
Clever Adaptive Reuse
Why tear down an old building when you can repurpose it? That’s the thought behind many recent hotel development projects. The Cork Factory in Lancaster, Pennsylvania was -- you guessed it -- a 19th century cork factory. The Refinery Hotel in New York City was originally built in 1912 as a high-end millinery factory. And the hats made there were likely sold at J.B. Mosby and Co. department store in Richmond, Virginia (circa 1916), which was recently converted into the mod and chic Quirk Hotel.
There’s no better way to make a guest feel at home than by adding some personal touches in the hotel room. The Kimpton Taconic in Manchester, Vermont puts locally-made walking sticks in each room to encourage guests to take advantage of the area’s abundant nature trails. At the One&Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, Mexico, turndown service includes a gift of handmade ceramic cacti reflecting species native to the region, with a note explaining their relevance to indigenous communities. Baseball fanatics will embrace the… unique touches at Boston’s Hotel Commonwealth, which overlooks Fenway Park; guests are gifted a bag of dirt from the old ballpark to take home.
Room for Performances
The Living Stage is a key component of the new lifestyle brand Hotel RL, developed by Red Lion Hotels. Open to the general public, the stage is located in or adjacent to the lobby and showcases local musicians and occasionally writers. For guests who prefer to embrace their inner couch potato, performances are simulcast live on the hotel’s television system.
Almost every hotel lets you check in any time, but you have to leave by noon -- or worse, 11 -- the next day. But a few hotels are now giving guests a true 24-hour stay. The Four Points Sheraton LAX, for example, allows a guest to check-in at 5 p.m. on Monday and check out at 5 p.m. Tuesday, making good on the promise to provide a full day’s stay.
The Rise of the Rust Belt
From Cleveland to Milwaukee to Detroit, the Rust Belt is gaining ground among hotel developers. Chicago-based Aparium Hotels is aiming to be a catalyst in this resurgence. The company ethos is to design properties (usually adaptive reuses) that reflect the heart and soul of the places they inhabit. In Wisconsin, the Charmant Hotel in La Crosse and The Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee are prime samples of Aparium’s stock in trade.
When you see an orange bike rolling by, there’s a good chance there’s a Canopy by Hilton in the neighborhood. Hilton’s new entry into the lifestyle brand market exist has all sorts of funky touches, including the orange bikes that are free loaners for guests. Canopy is not alone in pedaling this transportation option. Hotel RL and some Kimpton properties also provide two-wheelers for guests who want an eco-friendly way to explore the environs.
It may have started with Westin’s Heavenly Bed, but in recent years, hotels everywhere having been trying to design spaces that ensure a good night’s sleep. Delos’ Stay Well Rooms, found at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, feature blackout shades and dawn simulation, which allows for a natural waking process. This is coupled with circadian lighting, engineered to emulate the properties of natural light. If that’s not enough, how about nodding off to the dulcet tones of Deepak Chopra narrating guided meditations?