I Have Been to the Future

From generation to generation, for the past 100 years, not much has changed until now. For the most part, music, clothing and hairstyles are what set a generation apart. Otherwise it was business as usual. Hotels and resorts needed just to switch out some furniture, paint a few walls and upgrade the TV, and welcome the next up-and-coming citizens of the world.

Now we build our homes with open-floor plans. The only doors we have are on the front door, bedrooms and bathrooms. The youth of our society socialize and communicate more online than in person. Everything happens faster because of connectivity. To have patience is impossible; to turn it off and slow it down is akin to being asleep or dead. So how does this generation relax and take a vacation?

Here’s what won’t work. A hotel lobby with a lot of separate sitting rooms with stuffy furniture; a front desk that confuses new generations, since banks are doing away with tellers, and upscale shops these days are doing away with check-out counters. They don’t stand in line at airports because they have checked in online. If you think most of today’s boutique hotels are addressing these needs, think again. For the most part they are doing what I described above—merely upgrading furniture, and perhaps lobby music, to suit today’s traveler.

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Enter Hyatt’s Andaz brand of the future. This is not simply a boutique hotel brand. In my mind, Andaz is the first chain to see the future. I recently visited the newly opened Andaz Maui at Wailea. At the entrance you have a short walk into the lobby, which is surrounded by pools. I loved the walk because it is a build-up of anticipation; you get that sense of arrival as opposed to just being dropped off at a lobby. There is no front desk; you feel more like you are in a living room with openness and community. You don’t have the urge to leave it as you do most hotel lobbies; it keeps pulling you back. The food-and-beverage experience at Andaz is open and it’s experiential. The pool is tiered as it makes its way down to the beach in a very stylish manner. The staff is cool, not stuffy. Pictured here with me is Michael Stephens, general manager of the Andaz Maui, in his lobby. If you look behind us you will see wood-pod chairs set in the sand. New twist on traditional seating! In your future can you see your clients having an evening cocktail immersed in this new future of hospitality? I can.

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