Is this the end of the boring hotel with fugly bedspreads
, exhorbitant charges for "high-speed Internet connections," and where you feel like prisoners in your room? Could be....
A new generation of hip hotel brands — aka boutique budget hotels — are dotting the landscape, giving hope to every iPod-toting, wi-fi using couple who find fussy, dull, and old-fashioned lodgings unappealing.
Style and technology are these hip boutique hotels' trademarks. Touting affordable luxury, most offer rooms priced at under $200 a night, better bedding, free wi-fi, iPod speakers, and cool public spaces to meet like-minded travelers.
© Susan Breslow Sardone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Andaz is Hyatt Hotels' brand designed to appeal to modern travelers. Clean and casual, Andaz's minimalist look will appeal to those who relish smart conveniences and amenities. Guest room furnishings incorporate original ideas such as a rotating closet and freestanding flatscreen TV backed by a mirror. Its first New York property opened on Wall Street
and was closely followed by a midtown Manhattan
location. On the opposite coast is Andaz West Hollywood
, Andaz San Diego, and Andaz Napa. Other domestic and international locations include Andaz Savannah, Andaz Maui at Wailea, Andaz Liverpool Street in London, Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, Andaz Shanghai, Andaz Peninsula Papagayo, and Andaz Tokyo.
© Ace Hotels.
The Ace’s hip new hotel reputation was born with its inaugural Seattle property. Ace Hotels now colonize Portland
, Palm Springs
, and NYC. The brand lures post-collegiate travelers with a funky yet stark aesthetic that blends Pacific NW grunge, Japanese animé, and flea-market nostalgia. Some rooms have bunk beds and/or hallway johns. Service and fitness facilities vary. The Gotham outpost is upscale for an Ace, with bathrooms in all rooms and an on-premises gym. Ace Hotels are centrally located and pet-friendly, with critic-acclaimed in-house dining. Romantic travelers who are not of the tattoos-and-texting sort may eschew the Ace’s hipster-dorm approach.
Arthur and Lyn Dobrin.
Tired of seeing the same old interiors? Changes are made throughout the year at Hotel Indigo locations to keep guest rooms looking fresh: Photographic wall murals, rugs, duvets, and slipcovers receive timely updates. Trendy bead-board headboards and granite vanity tops show a Restoration Hardware influence. Wi-fi is free and bathrooms are spacious. Public spaces are transformed seasonally as well, with different aromas, music, artwork, and even signage. Indigo hotels can be found in Houston, Dallas, and Sarasota. More are opening in Scottsdale, Ottawa, Nashville, and NYC's Chelsea neighborhood and on Long Island.
© NYLO Hotels.
Unaffiliated with other hotel brands, NYLO is a new urban and green hotel concept. Brick-and-glass exteriors, floor-to-ceiling lobby windows, and exposed walls contribute to the edgy design. In loftlike quarters, couples find soaring ceilings, custom-designed furniture, and luxury linens. Free high-tech amenities include wi-fi, a large flat-screen TV with plug-ins for iPods and computers. There is also a gathering spot next to the lobby with an equally stylish bar and 24/7 restaurant, a game room, library, business center, and shop. In addition to the Providence, Rhode Island property, there are Texas NYLO hotels in Dallas
© Marriott Hotels
Edition is a partnership between the stylish ethos of Ian Schrager (who invented the concept of the boutique hotel and whose trendy properties range from Miami's Delano to the exclusive Gramercy Park Hotel
) and the resources of Marriott hotels
. The objective for Edition hotels, according to J.W. Marriott Jr., is to be "the first truly global branded boutique/lifestyle hotel on a large scale and the next generation to set the standard for decades to come." The first property launched in Waikiki, Hawaii
. “Each hotel will reflect the locale it’s in,” Schrager told FT.com. “When I see a city I am able to very quickly understand what needs to be done with the design, to fit the local environment and vibe.”
Starwood's Aloft hotels are designed with loft-like guest rooms that have enhanced technology services, making them ideal aeries for couples to nest in. Nine-foot ceilings and oversized windows help to create the spacious, airy environment. Large bathrooms have walk-in showers and amenities by Bliss Spa. Socializing is an important part of the concept as well, and Aloft hotels feature indoor lounges and landscaped outdoor spaces to motivate guests to gather and interact. The first of these hotels opened in Lexington, MA; Tucson, AZ; at the San Francisco and Philadelphia airports; and in Cherry Creek, CO.
Element Hotels are designed to appeal to contemporary travelers. A gym, swimming pool, and use of hotel bikes target active guests. Healthy breakfasts are complimentary. Each room has a Westin Heavenly Bed, ergonomic chair and oversize desk, and full kitchen (making it convenient for guests who plan to stay a while). There's also a 32” LCD TV that swivels and a DVD player. Wi-fi is free in the lobby. To keep costs down, many Element hotels are located in secondary cities where real estate is cheaper: Summerlin, instead of Las Vegas; Tempe, instead of Phoenix. Element Hotel patios feature a fire pit and weekly free evening BBQ. New builds, the hotels strive to be ecologically responsible. Instead of a water-hogging bath, there's a shower.
Hotelier André Balazs is behind hip new hotels in Hollywood
, downtown LA
, Miami Beach
, and New York City
. In the Hollywood hotel, platform beds, beanbag chairs, shag carpeting that creeps up from the floor of the lobby to its walls, a pool deck surrounded by blue astroturf, and air conditioning controls that read "blow" are part of the fun, funky look. A de rigueur widescreen TV is present, along with a personal stereo system. The downtown LA property boasts a rooftop bar; the one in Miami has a spa. And New York's overlooks the High Line elevated city park.