Today’s global hospitality leaders are charting a new course with boutique brands that prioritize local relevance over parent brand identities. Marriott’s Autograph Collection positions its line of hotels as “Exactly Like Nothing Else,” while Hilton’s Curio brand is defined as “A Collection of Unique Hotels.” Each hotel within these two portfolios bears its own name and independent narrative driven by regional differentiators.
Modern hotels derive success by deftly interpreting or connecting to their contexts, positioning themselves as neighborhood icons built for locals as much as for visitors. Situated at the top of the Four Seasons Baltimore, Streetsense design project The Bygone channels the exhilarating allure and glamour of the Roaring ’20s, when Baltimore was known as a center for resistance to Prohibition. Reminiscent of an old-fashioned social club and outfitted with a signature whiskey bar and an open rotisserie grill, the refined restaurant and bar is as much a beacon for Baltimore natives as it is an amenity for travelers.
For master brands with many locations, finding small ways to nod to each property’s distinctive assets and demonstrate a nuanced service approach has been key. Every St. Regis hotel serves up a signature Bloody Mary recipe and specialty tea blend inspired by local culture, while Hilton’s Canopy hotels feature complimentary evening tastings of local wines, beers, and spirits.
All in all, demand for local legitimacy is at an all-time high across industries and continents, with hospitality players big and small taking note and upping the authenticity ante.
Working the Room: Social Trends Shaping Stays
The Connected Community
New hotels are minimizing room size and maximizing public spaces — with ample venues for coworking and connecting over cocktails. Marriott’s Millennial-minded Moxy brand is one of many micro-hotel models — with rooms under 200 square-feet, supplemented by expansive social spaces.
The Art of it All
Hotels are prioritizing craftsmanship with artisan partners. Soho’s The James employs an art curator to select local and international pieces for display. This polished program has garnered social media shares via the hashtag #ArtAtTheJames.
Less Hotel-Restaurant, More Restaurant-Hotel
In a new era of hospitality, energy starts with fresh food concepts that connect visitors to the neighborhood and culture surrounding them. Streetsense brand and design project The Riggsby projects a warm, intimate supper club vibe that draws a new crowd of local customers to mix and mingle with visitors at boutique hotel The Carlyle.
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