In 2013, Ritz-Carlton launched their signature hashtag, #RCMemories, by which guests could share their favorite activities and moments with the brand on platforms like Instagram and Twitter. Now, the hotel company is bringing that hashtag to life with a series of bookable experiences, available at more than 90 properties worldwide.
Every hotel and resort will have at least five excursions on offer, one of which is complimentary: say, listening to folktales from a ranger and watching a Native American flautist ritual at the resort in Dove Mountain, Arizona, trying a yoga warrior class in Langkawi, or taking part in a sunset ceremony at the oceanfront property in Grand Cayman.
“Our belief is that we are not in the hotel business, but the memory making business,” Lisa Holladay, the global brand leader for Ritz-Carlton, told Travel + Leisure. “This was something we always encouraged our properties to do, though now we are making it a more formal program for the brand. It’s great for our ladies and gentleman to really bring their city and home to life.”
The program has been in development for about two years, though many of the resorts have been offering experiences in one form or another for some time. (Laguna Niguel, for example, one of the oldest properties in the Ritz-Carlton portfolio, has long offered surf classes.)
I had a chance to test out an in-house activity a few years back when I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto. My husband I and participated in a complimentary soap-making class at Shabon-ya, a beauty-focused store in the city center.
At the time, I remember appreciating that the hotel was promoting activities in Kyoto and going beyond the typical concierge desk. Better still, the class was free. Though we didn’t get a chance to try some of the for-fee experiences, such as a samurai class, where guests dress in the costumes of traditional warriors and learn their movements, I was intrigued.
I also found it to be a great way to interact with the staff at the hotel, and see the city through their eyes. Our excursion leader, Megumi, was cheerful and upbeat; since no other guests came along with us, it was like having our own private guide for the morning. Other for-fee #RCMemories experiences which people can book in Kyoto include creating your own Japanese garden ($34) or a harp lesson ($73).
Holladay stressed the importance of having guests interact with the team through #RCMemories Experiences. “At the Hotel Arts in Barcelona, Donna Stain, the florist, is world-renowned,” she said. “Her arrangements and bouquets are amazing. Guests can see her creating a centerpiece in the lobby, and feel free to ask her questions. The ladies and gentleman are the heart and soul of these properties.”