California Group Travelers Wanting a Different Hotel Experience

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This group travel trend has not been gotten rid of on many of the larger brands and boutique hotels. Specialty hotels are popping up from major hospitality companies including Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and Carlson Rezidor will be springing up across the globe in the coming months.

These new hotels are what are identified in the industry as “lifestyle” brands: They strive to entice the predilections of next-generation travelers. Some are trying to lure millennials (who are defined as between 18 and 34 in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center)) with high-tech lounges, reasonable rates, locally inspired features, and grab-and-go meals. Others are aiming to attract cosmopolitan travelers who just want affordable, modern spaces that feel luxurious without being fussy or sterile.

Here’s a primer on what to expect in a few of these new properties.

Moxy Hotels

This is Marriott for Millennials, a demographic Marriott International felt was being underserved by its rivals with staid hotels that lacked personality. The company’s research suggested that millennials shy away from hotels that feel corporate; they’re immersed in social media; and they enjoy shared spaces for both work and fun. Moxy hotels have playful “living rooms” with free Wi-Fi, enough of electrical outlets and classic games sized for giants, such as Jenga and Connect Four.

Photos that guests post on Instagram with the hashtag #atthemoxy instantly appear on Moxyhotels.com and on a digital guest book: a huge screen in the hotel “living room.” Naturally there’s a full-service bar. And since millennials want what they want when they want it, according to Marriott, there’s a 24-hour self-service cafe.

Moxy is made up to be competitive with more traditional economy hotels– after all, millennials aren’t necessarily flush– by having affordable prices together with sleek, industrial-inspired design (polished concrete floors, exposed columns), comfort and a lively scene (ergo the bar).

Marriott plans to open more than 100 Moxy hotels around the world over the next decade in cities that include Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, Copenhagen and London. In the United States, coming locations include Manhattan (Chelsea, Midtown and Lower Manhattan), San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans and Chicago.

This month, an AC hotel will open in Washington, D.C. Next month is Miami Beach, and in May, Chicago. More than 50 additional AC hotels are scheduled to open over the next three years throughout the United States and Latin America.

Canopy by Hilton

Each hotel in this particular chain, which will begin operating late this year, will intend to convey the feeling of the neighborhood it’s in through locally inspired design, art, music, drinks (like evening tastings of local brews) and food. Guests may be presented neighborhood fitness options like jogging routes and bikes, and they’ll acquire a small welcome gift from local businesses. Guests in Denver, for example, may be given a treat from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, while those in Chicago might receive a snack from Garrett Popcorn.

At check-in (which can be done through a mobile app) people will have the option of selecting a themed “foodie bag” for their minibar–“one of the most underused amenities in hotel rooms,” according to Gary Steffen, the global head of Canopy by Hilton. The foodie bag specifics are still being finalized, but Mr. Steffen said in an email that the options could include a “health driven” bag, a “chocolate lovers” bag and a “jet-lag” bag.

It’s all part of Canopy’s effort to cut through the clutter of so-called lifestyle hotels and offer a simple but modern take on comfort and value. Speaking of the latter, breakfast will be free, and so will the Wi-Fi.

The hotels will be in cities and secondary markets worldwide, including London; Portland, Ore.; Miami; Washington, D.C.; San Diego; Nashville; Savannah, Ga.; Indianapolis; Charlotte, N.C.; Oklahoma City; and Ithaca, N.Y. Information: Canopybyhilton.com.

Therefore there will be locally made facilities and bath wear; a common lounge for work or play called the Corner will have local books and magazines. As with some of the new hotels designed for millennials, there’s free Wi-Fi, and dining is a more casual affair. Room service will be given as a “knock ‘n’ drop” service; gone is the formal in-room, on-the-bed presentation.

Hyatt Centric hotels will be popping up in popular destinations including Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Paris. Information: Hyattcentric.com.

Radisson Red

One more brand geared to millennials, this upscale line from Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group– the owners of chains including Radisson, Radisson Blu, and Country Inns & Suites by Carlson– is making its debut this year. As with other properties that are pleasing the next generation, the focus is on technology, modern design and quick food service (expect a bar and deli rather than a full-service restaurant).

A mobile app will allow you to do everything from skipping the check-in desk to ordering a drink from the bar to requesting flowers through an online concierge and summoning a taxi to whisk you to the airport. When you come you enter a “gallery” art space, which flows into a bar and deli area open from morning coffee to evening cocktails.

Radisson Red hotels will soon be announced in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia Pacific region. Information: Radissonred.com.

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