Trend: Boutique Hotels from Big Hotel Chains
Published: May 2012
<p>Big-name chains are continuing to embrace the boutique trend, especially in the U.S. and Asia.</p>
Existing Properties: Istanbul
Upcoming: Abu Dhabi; Gurgaon, India; London; Los Angeles; Miami Beach; New York
Background: The mega-chain partnered with Ian Schrager in 2008 to bring boutique cachet to the brand. The rollout was slowed by the recession, but at last has six projects on three continents in the works.
Standout Features: Über-urban settings: Manhattan’s Clock Tower building will house the brand’s first New York property. The Abu Dhabi Edition will be located in the city’s marina.
Sofitel Luxury Hotels: Sofitel So
Existing Properties: Bangkok, Mauritius
Upcoming: Mumbai, Singapore
Background: Born in 2010, So revolves around a “modern chic” aesthetic in contrast to the French luxury chain’s more traditional properties.
Standout Features: Fashion heavyweights have a hand in So’s look: guests at the Mauritius property sun themselves on Kenzo Takada–designed beach towels.
Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces: Vivanta by Taj
Existing Properties: Two dozen across India, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka
Upcoming: Taj is eyeing development in Africa, China, and the Middle East
Background: If Taj symbolizes India’s stately colonial past, Vivanta is all about its breakneck, cyber-fused development. The work/play brand is gaining a foothold in boomtowns such as Bangalore and resort destinations in Kerala and Karnataka.
Standout Features: Youthful, playful touches appeal to India’s emerging techie class: pet services, limos with video games, and anytime dining with wellness menu items are on offer.
Existing Properties: New York; L.A.; London; Napa, Calif.; San Diego; Savannah, Ga.; and Shanghai
Upcoming: Amsterdam; Costa Rica; Delhi; Jaipur; Maui; Sanya, China; and Turks and Caicos
Background: The brand distinguishes itself by emphasizing culture and creativity, most notably with the Andaz Salon, an in-house series of food, fashion, and art shows.
Standout Features: Recent Salon events include free tax filing from its “accountant in residence” to guests staying in the second week of April at Andaz Wall Street and a pop-up vintage-clothing shop at the London property.
InterContinental Hotels Group: Hotel Indigo
Existing Properties: More than three dozen in the Americas, Asia, and Europe
Upcoming: Fifty-nine hotels worldwide, including in Bangkok; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Madrid
Background: InterContinental created Indigo to give guests a sense of place they wouldn’t otherwise get staying at their sister brand, Holiday Inn. Murals inspired by neighborhood scenes grace the lobbies, and restaurant menus include local cuisine.
Standout Features: Seeking to give grab-and-go dining some gourmet cred, InterContinental is testing out a self-serve wine bar and locavore options at its Atlanta property.
Carlson Rezidor: Radisson Blu
Existing Properties: Dozens worldwide, from Australia to Zambia
Background: Carlson Rezidor retired the Radisson SAS name and redubbed its upscale hotels Blu, giving them a more modern look. The first U.S. property opened in Chicago in November.
Standout Features: At the new Chicago property, located in the undulating Aqua Tower, there are two guest-room styles: the dark and sultry Mansion House theme or the airy and bright Naturally Cool décor.
Wyndham Hotel Group: Tryp by Wyndham
Existing Properties: More than 90 locations in Europe and the Americas
Upcoming: Bogotá, Colombia; Panama City
Background: Wyndham acquired the brand from Spain-based Meliá Hotels International, adding modern furnishings and social spaces. The first U.S. Tryp opened in New York City in February.
Standout Features: At the new Manhattan location, guests can mingle virtually via Tryp’s social network, LobbyFriend, and then meet up in real life at the tapas bar.