GDR’s Lamorna Byford discusses three hospitality innovations that show that localism and luxury can share a bed.
As authenticity becomes the white rabbit chased by tourists, we’ve seen hoteliers moving away from the generic luxury proposition that is a familiar constant, irrespective of where the hotel might be. The desire for the authentic experience means hotels are now appealing to guests by properly reflecting and embracing their locale. However, this scramble for authenticity can prove self-defeating as tourists swamp areas in search of genuine, local experiences.
The small island of Koh Tachai in Thailand, for example, has recently decided to ban visitors altogether, after swathes of paradise seekers overwhelmed their beaches. On a less extreme scale, articles profiling the top ‘secret’ bars in a city such as London undermine the point of that exclusive secrecy entirely.
Green Rooms, London
Green Rooms, in London’s Wood Green, is a hotel solely for the artistic and creative community. Low cost rooms, imaginative events, soft furnishings by understated designers Folk and tasty food supplied by local startups means guests feel at once embedded in the local community and part of a select group. Of course, you don’t actually have to be an artist to stay at Green Rooms, but by staying there, guests are buying into the concept of the hotel enough to feel some ownership of it, much as cult retailers like Supreme do.
A friendly but closed community is created within Amsterdam ‘poshtel’ City Hub. In order to gain entry to their rooms and control music and lighting, guests must download the hub’s app, which also acts as a social platform through which residents and staff can organise socials, suggest activities around the city or share tips for local bars and restaurants. Squarely aimed at digital natives, its portable Wi-Fi ensures guests can stay connected to the collective conversation without incurring roaming charges.
Roam, South America and South East Asia
Recognising the trend for remote working, particularly amongst the same digital nomads and creatives targeted by Green Rooms and City Hub, Roam aims to build a co-living, co-working network across the world. Members pay $1,600 per month in return for an individual bedroom, bathroom and access to shared living and working space in travel hotspots across South America and South East Asia.
What is perhaps more important than the space, is the inclusion in a growing, youthful movement of nomadic workers – a friendly club with professional benefits. Chris Messina, development experience lead at Uber and an advisor to Roam, said: “Finding and meshing with a good sized local crew when traveling can prove challenging. This kind of co-living/co-working arrangement addresses those issues”.
In order to gain entry to their rooms and control music and lighting, guests must download the hub’s app, which also acts as a social platform through which residents and staff can organise socials, suggest activities around the city or share tips for local bars and restaurants. Squarely aimed at digital natives, its portable Wi-Fi ensures guests can stay connected to the collective conversation without incurring roaming charges.
Although most exclusive accommodation in cities like London is arguably now provided by private members clubs, such as The Arts Club, which offers only sixteen plush bedrooms to its members, innovations like Roam, City Hub and Green Rooms exemplify a model that can produce the same feeling of belonging, for a broader and un-filtered demographic.