In these days of AirBnB and Couchsurfing, travel that highlights the local experience is becoming more attractive. Traditional travel companies need to compete; this is how some hotels are doing just that.
Andaz Hotels, Worldwide
Andaz hotels have their own selection of cultural insiders at each of their destinations. From bloggers to musicians to graffiti artists, these insiders are meant to bring a more local perspective to the guest experience as they share local news, reviews, and activity suggestions. The boutique hotel chain also hosts an Andaz Salon series of cultural events and, most recently, has teamed up with Jauntful to create personalized map guides for guests.
COMO Hotels, London
The Halkin by COMO and the Metropolitan by COMO, London now offer Cultural Bespoke Experiences -- private, highly-tailored visits and tours that can be pre-arranged before arrival. Experiences include creating a personalized perfume scent at Floris, which has been creating perfumes for customers since 1730; a Cuban Cigar tasting at TOMTOM, one of London’s leading cigar shops; and a private art tour of Mayfair's top galleries with exhibiting artist Emmanuelle Borra. There's also making unique flavors of chocolate, designing the wrapper, and having a personalized tasting at Rococo Chocolates, for an ultimate foodie experience -- or enjoying a private tour of Fortnum & Mason’s rooftop beehives followed by a honey tasting in their Wine Crypt for another sweet treat.
Ace Hotels, U.S., U.K., and Panama
The lobbies and public spaces of Ace Hotels are well-known for welcoming both locals and tourists, whether to have a coffee or just to take advantage of the free WiFi do some work. But that's not the only way the hotels invite the community in. As with all of their properties, the brand's newest outpost in London celebrates its surroundings by featuring local businesses, in this case Square Mile Coffee and That Flower Shop, which was actually relocated from a few doors away.
The Quin, New York City
The Quin's dedicated Luxury Attachés create bespoke itineraries for guests and help out with almost any hyper-local New York experience, from last-minute reservations at the hottest restaurant in town to arranging private tours of the latest exhibit at the Met. The Luxury Attachés are available 24/7 to all guests, from the minute they first make a reservation.
Peninsula Hotels, Worldwide
Peninsula Hotels have a series of programs that aim to offer experiences that will connect guests with the art, cuisine, fashion, style, and culture of the hotel's destination. The Peninsula Academy programs are curated by local teams and include museum trips, culinary lessons, shopping expeditions, and local food tastings. Several new programs were announced this summer -- in Bangkok, for example, guests can learn combat sport Muay Thai or explore urban nature with naturalists. At the Peninsula Chicago, guests can go on a personalized tour of a local floral warehouse and interact with the design team to help plan the weekly floral installments for the hotel.