Hotel Developers Embrace Their Surroundings and The Temporary

Piers Brown By Piers Brown
Uploaded 12 August 2013

With luxury hospitality trends changing so quickly never has there been such a need for hotel developers and brands to create new styles and ways of thinking to drive the industry forward. With cost and REVPAR projections always a major consideration with any hotel redesign, more and more savvy hotel owners are looking to create incremental revenue by introducing bespoke high-end luxury accommodation experiences in the often overlooked exterior hotel grounds.

No longer is the boutique hotel guest experience about seeing a new place - guests like to learn a new skill or gain a new understanding about how the world works and how people live in their regions. They like to explore something bigger than themselves, feel an emotional connection, and staying at the hotel is an extension of their own personality in many cases. Couple this with the experiential travel trend and an increasing emphasis on social and environmental responsibility and you have a compelling proposition.

One company at the forefront of this growing sector is Luxury Frontiers, headed by luxury hospitality expert Luca Franco, which offers sustainable out-of-the-box solutions for resort asset maximization together with capital, technical development, operational expertise and resources to hotel owners and chains, operators, developers and land owners globally.

Their concept, Luxury Under Canvas tented accommodation, is an elegant alternative to a brick and mortar building extending to incorporate additional facilities such as enclosed bedrooms, bathrooms, lounges, dining areas and covered verandahs; the Tree-Top Living concept is reminiscent of childhood dreams and playtime, fairy stories of enchantment and imagination, inspired through nature's history in wonderful surroundings, and after all who would turn down the allure of sleeping in the heights and stars?

From a hotelier's perspective, Herve Humler, president and COO, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company says: "This is an out-of-the-box hospitality project. And certainly the future of the high end luxury business in enhancing this future brand / concept reputation through authentic leadership in social and environmental responsibility......The average daily rate for this 'room under canvas' can enhance the position of the hotel and obviously the destination adding mystique to the location."

Here's some examples of luxury treehouses available to rent, one of our favourite treehouse suites and treehouse hotels around the world

Sometimes the best way to appreciate a city in all its glory is to see it from above. Hotel developers have realised this for ages but with the weather often less than clement, forward thinking hotels are embracing the trend for winter gardens: enclosed balconies and restaurants that provide the vista without the hypothermia. It's a take on the good old 'bringing the outside in' which is particularly welcome when your room or chosen dining experience is on the top side of the hotel.

These glazed havens, also known as sky boxes, can be closed and cosy, or opened up to provide a private, protected, semi-outdoor space to use however guests and diners wish. Outdoor furniture and lighting is now just as design-led and technically sophisticated as its indoor cousins.That being said, it's somewhat ironic that a proportion of recent new boutique hotel brands lead with a simplistic, modular and bijou design approach - Yotel which has recently announced expansion in the Far East and Citizen M for example.

Citizen M applies 'lean' manufacturing to the hotel business by prefabricating each room prior to arrival, reducing standard hotel build time from around two years to eight months. After this, all that's required is a clean freshly made-bed, and connection to electricity and water.

With increasing options available to the developer for cost saving reductions in hotel build times, the guest in the meantime has also become more accustomed to speed of delivery in all forms - a 'pacy' trend embraced by the now well established pop-up shop and restaurant concept. Hardly surprising then, that more pop-up boutique hotels are catching hold of the trend too like Tender2 by Royal Botania

A similar 100% portable approach to the pop-up hotel concept was discovered by veteran hotelier Robert Breare when seeking shelter from rain at the 2010 Le Mans 24 hour motor race: why not build comfortable, portable, air conditioned lodging rooms and transport them -  by air, land or sea -to sports and music festival events? And so Snoozebox was born.

With the freedom 'temporariness' now gives the guest and hotelier alike,  boutique hospitality visionary Chip Conley, founder and CEO of Joie de Vivre Hotels until he stepped down in 2010 (now part of Commune Hotels) is now putting his 35+ years experience to launching his Fest300 online festival brand - "It's social-identity refreshment, connecting you with others outside your own little digital device……Long story short, I want to become the world's leading expert on festivals" says Conley.

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