Boutique Hotels

Boutique Hotels Are Blurring the Lines Between Hotel Guest and Local - Quartzy

Excerpt from Quartzy

Hotels Are Now Blurring the Lines Between Hospitality and, Well, Everything

A couple of months ago, I was sitting in a dive bar on a Tuesday evening in Palm Springs, CA, watching the most un-self consciously tacky karaoke night I've ever witnessed.

The mixture of solo patrons nursing drinks at the bar and amateur crooners who clearly knew their way around the fat binder full of songs made me feel like I'd stumbled upon a delightfully eccentric and quintessentially Palm Springs weeknight. Except I hadn't stumbled upon it at all. The dive bar was in my hotel. And the front desk suggested I join the activity when I checked in.

Granted, the hotel I was staying in was the Ace Hotel. Founded by the late Alex Calderwood in 1999 and now with nine locations in three countries, Ace was a pioneer when it comes choosing less-discovered neighborhoods and letting the local vibe shape the hotel's look, feel, and offerings. Indeed, the Ace Hotel in London versus Seattle versus Los Angeles all feel remarkably different and offer an abundance of locally-informed events—from karaoke and bingo in kitschy Palm Springs to afternoon tea accompanied by a DJ spinning obscure vinyl in hipster east London. Because of that, they tend to attract the favor of locals who happily, if unknowingly, intermingle with hotel guests.

Indeed, in the age where hotels have more competition than ever to maintain the relevancy and appeal of their core service, this genre-blurring approach is becoming more and more common. Whether it's experiences, entertainment, retail, food, culture, the lobby as co-working space, or nightlife, it can sometimes be hard to tell if a hotel's events calendar—if not the hotel itself—is created for its guests, or for its surrounding neighborhood. 

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