|At Luxury Travel Expo I moderated a panel on the great hotels of the world with Bob Romano of Fugazi Travel and Valerie Wilson of Valerie Wilson Travel.|
Ever since the birth of the boutique hotel, we’ve been examining what we really want from a luxury lodging experience. Fast forward a decade or two, and it seems we’re still analyzing our options. For my taste, I still love a classic property where I can transcend the real world and feel as if I’ve landed in a marvelous residence of some sort. I prefer marble bathroom floors to concrete and when I utter the word, “funky,” I usually don’t have a smile on my face.
Enough about me. Take a look at Meagan Drillinger’s New York feature in this issue of Luxury Travel Advisor. When I saw the images for the Ace Hotel, I had to do a double take, as I wasn’t quite sure if it’s luxury. The hotel, in a unique neighborhood of 5th Avenue and 29th Street, has been getting raves from everyone. If you check out Trip Advisor, the most common word to describe it is “hip,” and I found the “retro meets mod” descriptor to be quite compelling but I’m not quite sure that it would sell me on a stay. The point is: how do you know if your clients will like this? As Meagan aptly describes it, “The Ace isn’t for your Ritz-Carlton crowd.”
When I visited The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas last year, I wasn’t sure what to expect. By every definition, its advertising indicated that it was a hip hotel. The rooms there, however, did not disappoint and even I, whose tastes skew to the conservative side (only when it comes to hotels), loved them. The deep Japanese soaking tub was delightfully different and useable, and the layout of the living room in the one-bedroom suite was fun to return to after a day of trade show meetings. I would feel comfortable recommending it to anyone who likes luxury because the hotel didn’t scrimp on the essentials, such as good amenities, fine finishings, and great robes and bedding.
Missoni has just announced a new hotel for Mauritius. The setting is oceanfront and 80 suites will be designed by Missoni, known for its trademark sophisticated and colorful designs. A few years back, when Missoni launched Kuwait and Edinburgh, the jury was out as to whether the lifestyle brand would make it, but today it seems to have proven itself to developers who see it as a viable luxury product. They’ve done some things right, apparently.
These are just three unique hotels that you need to assess to determine whether they will meet your clients’ needs. Every day hotels with distinctive personalities are opening up and they definitely don’t all have marble bathroom floors. How do you navigate through it all?
Don’t focus simply on your clients’ demographics to determine if they’d like the Ace or The Cosmopolitan. Consider, instead, their psychographic, meaning their favored interests and activities. How do they see themselves? At 65 they may feel they want to try new things. Or they may be 27 and incredibly successful and feel that staying at the most expensive, classic hotel in a city will define their self image.
You will need to ask your clients pointed questions to determine their psychographic. And, you will need to get out there to experience these hotels yourself, so you’ll know just what vibe they offer. In the meantime, to assist along the way, we’ll keep giving you our firsthand opinions of new hotels as they roll out, in the pages of Luxury Travel Advisor.