Airport Hotels Are Having a Renaissance — Literally
Get ready for big changes across Renaissance properties.
The Renaissance Hotel brand, which has more than 160 hotels in 35 countries around the world, is looking to shake up the business travel experience, revamping its existing properties and opening a slew of new hotels.
Nearly half of the brand’s properties in North America are in the process of completing full renovations over the next year, while there will also be new properties coming to 16 new neighborhoods including everywhere from New York City’s Chelsea and Harlem to Philadelphia and Warsaw in the next 12 months.
The brand, which is under Marriott International, has spent the last two years doubling down on its new design concepts as a way to differentiate itself from the now 30 brands that exist under the new Marriott and Starwood merger.
The brand's new focus is aligning each hotel's design and offerings with the neighborhood it's located in while introducing unexpected experiences for customers, from theatrical displays to hyper-local amenities.
For example, the Renaissance New York Chelsea South Hotel, which will open next year in the former Antiques Garage Flea Market, draws inspiration from the flea market and its neighboring Flower District.
The 300-room hotel will include a secret garden, clear insulated glass doors that provide outdoor views, and upside-down bird cages that play the sounds of birds chirping. Vintage belts from the original flea market will line the elevator cab walls and seats will be made out of leather luggage.
The Renaissance Harlem Hotel, opening in 2020, will be housed in the former Loew's Victoria Theater and will draw on the Harlem Renaissance for design inspiration. Guests at the 200-room property will find graphic installations and music dedicated to prominent figures from the period — from Josephine Baker to Esther Jones, better known as Betty Boop — in the elevators.
Goodies inspired by the theater will be available at the hotel’s concession stand, and guests will be invited to snap pictures in photo booths with historic Harlem streets as a background. Historic artifacts from the theater will also be on display.
Head downstairs for a shoe shine and you can take a seat in one of the theater's original chairs.
Similarly, the Renaissance Philadelphia Downtown Hotel, opening in June, will host a lobby made to look like Elfreth’s Alley in Old Town. Guests will be able to sample sweets from local favorite Lore’s Chocolates and a variety of whiskey that Benjamin Franklin is said to have drank to toast the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
The brand has also been renovating several of its properties, including the Renaissance Los Angeles Airport Hotel, which has been redesigned to include record rooms and touches inspired by the city’s music scene.
Meanwhile, renovations at the Renaissance Paris Vendome Hotel draw on the glamour and fashion of the area, showcasing large-scale artworks in guestrooms, while its meetings rooms are inspired by the old public libraries of the neighborhood and are filled historic photos of readers.
At the same time, the brand is shifting what the airport hotel experience means for travelers, bringing in both design elements and amenities found at boutique hotels to make them more than just a place to crash before a flight.
The Renaissance Warsaw Airport Hotel, the brand’s first in Poland, draws on the avant-garde modernism that has been a fixture in the city since the 1930s.
Inside its corridors, guests will find a series of aviation posters and advertisements that showcase the fashion of the times, while bright neon decor will radiate throughout. The property will host a ballroom, club, spa and pool, restaurants, conference rooms, and a library lounge.
At the Renaissance Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Hotel, guests will feel immersed in nature: The property is inspired by the Amsterdam Bos, one of the largest parks in Europe. The hotel will have floor-to-ceiling glass windows, leaf patterns projected onto the walls, and halls that evoke the sense of taking a walk in the woods.
The Renaissance Navigator program hires locals to help guests find the best hidden gems near each property. They will also provide travelers with tips and tricks at the airport such as where to find shorter lines or grab coffee from a local brewer.
"Whether a new build, conversion or renovation, the design of each Renaissance hotel employs different principles to create a dynamic tension and theatrical spirit that introduces an unexpected sense of the neighborhood to our guests," David Kepron, vice president of Marriott International's global brand design strategies, said in a statement.
"There is an overarching and recognizable design DNA that sets the stage for stories worth re-telling, but Chelsea will feel very difference than Charleston, as will Paris and Philadelphia."