If the traditional, large hotel chains are a bit too cookie-cutter for you and you (or your company) are not digging the Airbnb experience, don’t worry. There are plenty of new boutique-style hotels out there that are from suppliers your travel program likely already has ties to. Within the last five years, the major players in the industry have been introducing brand-new brands to give guests fresh and unique accommodation options.
Some do so wearing the chief brand name like a badge of honor (think Hyatt Centric), while others, it seems, are trying to disguise the fact that it’s from a large hotel chain (such as Avid — which you’ll discover about further down).
To help with the dizzying array of choices out there today, here’s a guide to some of the so-called “lifestyle” hotels that have popped up in the last few years.
CANOPY by HILTON
What it is: Introduced in 2014, Canopy is a modern property that heavily highlights the local neighborhood through its design, food and beverage and art, and its very knowledgeable staff can give insider recommendations to the best sites and restaurants to explore.
Where it is: Currently, Reykjavik, Iceland and Washington, D.C. with more properties slated to open in 2018 and 2019, including in Portland, Ore., Nashville, Dallas, Atlanta, Baltimore and Toronto.
Who wants to stay there: Corporate travelers who want to experience the vibe and energy of the vicinity they’re staying in but don’t have a full day to go out sightseeing.
How it’s different: Its friendly staff members, called “enthusiasts,” promise to deliver exceptional “guest-directed” service. And if you have any issues, you can take it up with the “chief enthusiast” (aka the general manager).
CURIO by HILTON
What it is: Also commencing in 2014, Curio has a range of four- and five-star properties, each with very distinct personalities. In fact, you’d never even know a property is part of the Curio Collection — by name, design, food and drink — since they each are inspired by the unique regional identities of their locations.
Where it is: Curio properties are in 60 locations, including Philadelphia, Dallas, Miami, Chicago, Hamburg, Doha, Qatar, London, Paris, Sydney and Buenos Aires.
Who wants to stay there: Business travelers either eager to rack up their Hilton HHonors points (Curio offers guests a 2X Points Package deal) or those who wish to redeem their points for their own luxury vacation experience.
How it’s different: Being different is the very ethos of the Curio brand and it’s said that each hotel offers an experience that can be found no place else.
What it is: With the Moxy brand, launched in 2014, Marriott has been on a mission to attract younger guests who might otherwise opt for an Airbnb type of accommodation. With an open lobby setting designed for guests to have fun, Moxy hotels feature 24-hour bars and spaces to play group games, like Jenga and foosball.
Where it is: Moxy is up and running in places like Chicago, Seattle, London, Munich, Vienna and Milan, with dozens more opening in 2018.
Who wants to stay there: Millennials who want to combat the isolation of business travel by mixing and mingling with other young guests.
How it’s different: Closets, which Marriott discovered guests rarely use, have been removed to make way for a 42-inch flat screen TV and an “even sweeter” bed.
What it is: The Tribute Portfolio brand, originally served up by Starwood in 2015, has a very individualistic streak with each independently operated and having its own unique guest amenities. What unifies them all: “vibrant social settings” and “sincere service.”
Where it is: There are more than 30 locations that either are open or will soon open in places like Denver, Nashville, Las Vegas, Shanghai, Singapore, Paris and Amsterdam.
Who wants to stay there: Starwood loyalists who want something new to appreciate and savor while still earning Starwood Preferred Guest points.
How it’s different: Because each hotel is an independent property, the brand experience essentially has been removed, delivering an authentic boutique experience.
What it is: This just-announced midscale brand from InterContinental Group (IHG) will be for travelers who don’t need all the fuss. They simply desire a great night’s sleep in a quiet room and quality breakfast before they get on with their day. As it says on the Avid website, it “champions everyday travel at a fair price.”
Where it is: Its first opening, in Oklahoma City, is slated for late 2018 or early 2019.
Who wants to stay there: The budget-minded corporate traveler who only needs the basics — done well.
How it’ll be different: High quality at a fair price. Avid is promising a $10 to $15 lower price point than IHG’s Holiday Inn Express brand — with complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi (apparently the fastest in the industry) included.
What it is: The Hyatt Centric, launched in 2015, was inspired by the brand’s mission of putting its guest at the center of the action in the best destinations, with its artwork, furniture, food and beverages all painting a story of the local destination.
Where it is: It has more than a dozen locations, including San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, New Orleans, Madrid, Istanbul, Guatemala City and Tokyo.
Who wants to stay there: Travelers who want to feel immersed in the culture of the destination without even having to leave the premises.
How it’s different: Its “knock ‘n’ drop” room service — perfect for business travelers who are hungry and dead tired after a long flight and don’t even have the energy to greet the delivery person at the door.
What it is: Vib (short for “vibrant”) is Best Western International’s new tech-forward offering, introduced in 2015. It provides guests with a truly connected experience with rooms featuring easily accessible USB and power ports, free high-speed internet and smart TVs to stream custom content.
Where it is: It currently has a property in Antalya, Turkey, and soon will have locations in Bangkok, New York City and Springfield, Ill. Properties in San Francisco, Miami and Chicago are “in the pipeline.”
Who wants to stay there: Millennials who check off “fast and reliable internet connectivity” and “smart TVs to stream all their own content” as must-haves.
How it’s different: The hotel also features gaming pods, where business travelers truly can unwind and disconnect after a long day of work.
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