Step Into An Experience: Changing The Hospitality Game
When you visit a hotel, what are the first things you notice? Is there art on the walls of the lobby? Is there a bar in plain view? Perhaps a comfy couch to lounge on? Now think about the last time any of those factors were truly memorable. A brand experience begins when you set foot inside an establishment, and over the past few years we’ve noticed hotels are starting to step up their game. Hospitality is a competitive market and hotels need to constantly reinvent themselves to attract visitors. With home sharing services dominating the market, there is an added challenge for hotels to go above and beyond with their accommodations. It’s not enough to provide a bed to sleep in anymore — the brand experience needs to become an extension of the room. We’ve found several spots in San Francisco and beyond who are taking the trend to new heights.
The Hotel Zetta in SoMa is serving up a big dose of brand experience. This chic hotel is like a designer’s playground, combining old world architecture with modern touches that make this space effortlessly cool. Art installations throughout the hotel vary from graffiti murals to fixtures made of recycled materials. The Playroom is a popular after hours spot for visitors and locals alike, boasting a pool table, ping pong, and a giant Jenga game among other activities. Not only that, but their interactive lobby is outfitted with Mac computers and a Plinko game wall. Anywhere you turn there is something to stimulate the senses, not to mention the delicious fare being served up at the British brasserie The Cavalier conveniently adjacent to the hotel. Joining Hotel Zetta in the ranks of effortlessly cool San Francisco boutique hotels are the freshly minted Axiom Hotel and the Viceroy’s Hotel Zeppelin.
Travel beyond The Bay to destinations such as Miami and Chicago and you’ll find The Freehand hostels, or should we say “poshtels”. This group’s philosophy is to create a welcoming, curated environment to attract travelers looking to mingle with other like-minded people. The Freehand’s shabby chic hipster interiors are an Instagrammer’s dream, and both locations are home to the award-winning bar The Broken Shaker. Having a bar in your hotel is nothing new, but The Broken Shaker serves up Tiki drinks and street-style bites that’ll have you hanging out until last call. Next to that, the pool and patio at the Miami location are perfect for relaxing during the day and partying at night. A key component of a hotel’s brand experience is providing guests with enough amenities that they’ll never need to leave the premises, and The Freehand manages to do just that.
Now let’s go all the way across the pond to London, where 41Hotel is taking old English allure and revving up the luxurious amenities. It’s like staying in your overly-generous aunt’s beautiful bourgeois home (except you don’t have to put up with any cheek pinching). There are bottomless snacks and drinks served all day long, and in the evening the lounge provides a smorgasbord of munchies for your midnight snack. The hotel oozes over-indulgence, with two staff members for every guest and 24 hour butler service. They’ll even join you for a bout of tennis (or any sport you like for that matter) if your partner is too busy drinking in the lounge. 41Hotel is also the perfect place if you’re planning on popping the question — they’ll go above and beyond to make sure you get a ‘yes’. One of our Noisemakers claims “it’s pretty amazing, I’ve never been anywhere comparable”. That’s a memorable brand experience!