Everything but the Hotel

These spots are switching it up

Gone are the days when hotel rooms offered just four walls and a bed. The landscape is evolving – championing expert knowledge, eco-credentials and experiences – and we’re ringing in the changes…

It’s time to take a break from impersonal Airbnb rentals and start choosing your hotels for the quality of their concierge. These are the people to actually turn to for know-how insider tips, private tours and behind-the-scenes access. W’s Insiders have long led the way for this, but look out for Sir Explore by boutique hotel Sir Joan: their new initiative works with key locals (like ex Noma chef Boris Buono in Ibiza) to offer guests exceptional experiences covering food, art, music, wellness and history. And in the spirit of blurring that tourist/native line, we love Casa Bonay’s attitude of inviting the neighbours over by hosting nights open to all – so you can pick up the real lowdown.

As for eco-cred: we’ve seen the small changes in attitude, like metal straws at W Brisbane and hemp mattresses and timed showers at 1 Hotel, Brooklyn, but Leonardo DiCaprio’s Blackadore Caye in Belize is going to cause a sea change when it opens (officially scheduled for later this year but we say check back in spring 2019). The wellness-focused resort is making sustainability its raison d’être, intending to become the world’s leading example of green hospitality, no socks and sandals-stereotypes included. We’ve also seen that Meliá Hotels has pledged to remove all single-use plastics from its properties by the end of the year – no easy feat!

And finally, at Ian Schrager’s “luxury for all” PUBLIC,  it’s all about stripping things back to their essence. Guests print their own key card, there’s no porter or room service and the focus is on the common areas. Luxe rooftops, great restaurants and bars, common areas that encourage working – ‘why stay in your room when you have all this?’ Conversely, there’s Atelier Ace’s soon-to-open Maison de la Luz in New Orleans – the offering here is purposefully lowkey without restaurant bars or attractions, meaning guests are left to explore the draw of NOLA instead.

As we said, subtle changes, big differences.



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