Hotel Sleep Concierge

White Pillows

Every day, hotels compete over clients with an ever-growing menu of experiences. The pillow menu, introduced not long ago, has turned into a textile supermarket like the one the International Conrad Hotels chain is proud to offer.

In the arena of strong competition that has been created in worldwide hospitality industry, with incessant openings of new lodgings in advanced and emerging countries, the big chains are doing anything and everything to capture travellers and increase their fidelity to each chain’s brand. One of the classics, Conrad, now offers a very extensive menu of 75 pillows with which to induce more intense and seducing dreams. The menu takes into consideration local intricacies, as well as the diversity of pillow makers focused on being original and unique.

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The Tiger of Singapore

RafflesSingaporeAmong many concrete walls, steel and structural glass, the classic and flattened silhouette of the Raffles Hotel draws the attention of those strolling down Beach Road Street. What is a relic like this doing in a city-state whose flagship hotel is a complex of three skyscrapers crowned and linked by a panoramic pool that defies the basic laws of gravity? If it turns out the sea, when built, almost reached their rooms. And the street, denominated from the beach, received in its number 1 the new tourism tenant, in which Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham and Joseph Conrad would tread.

In 1887, Singapore was still a British colony. The new hotel assembled a collection of 10 small bungalows by the sea, an unnamed paradise for the few merchants who ventured into these dangerous Malaysian waters. But that innate sense of Asian hospitality soon became a mecca of services. First came the famous Singapore Sling cocktail, created in 1915 by the bartender Ngiam Tong Boon, which attracted bar and clubroom parishioners very fast, including the so-called British writers. Continue reading

Embracing Beauty

fibonacci

I had the pleasure of speaking with Enrique Loewe about beauty and ugliness in the solemn courtyard of the new Thyssen Museum, Málaga. “Embrace beauty”, he exclaimed from the podium of someone who symbolizes luxury better than anyone else in Spain. “Whatever you may study, whatever you may do, be sensible to the ideal of beauty that will transform your professions into a happy and creative exercise. Be demanding with your surroundings, proclaim your taste for things well done, hold on to what’s beautiful,” concluded he who in his own words “has given everything for the desire of beauty in design”.

The esthetics canon has been in constant evolution through History. While the women of the Renaissance portrayed wide hips and prominent curves, women in the 18th century quite contrarily sought to accentuate fragility which was considered romantic by taking only vinegar and lemon. Or what about the incomprehensible esthetics, to us, that are the giraffe women of the Karen tribe in Thailand. Or the teeth blackened with the ohaguru technique in Japan. While Japanese culture demands pale and milky faces, the European middle class has imposed a tanned sheen achieved after many hours of sun exposure in the Mediterranean beaches. Since classic times the concept of beauty had been associated with the discovery of the divine proportion, the number phi, enunciated by Pythagoras and other Hellenic mathematicians. Symmetry isn’t found in parity, but in the spiral evolution of the shapes based on 1618. For each unit, you add to the line a little over a unit and a half. This Fibonacci succession is recognized as much in the works of nature as in the work of artistic geniuses: Praxiteles, Da Vinci, Palladio, Le Corbusier. Continue reading

19 Hotel Trends for 2020

trendsHere’s a trend projection to what is happening and probably will continue to happen in the upcoming years in  sub-sector of tourist accommodation.

1. HOTEL INDUSTRY. While oversupply condemns the Hospitality industry to maintain abnormally low prices in Spain, the development of the hotel sector is at growth level never seen before in Latin America. However, note that some Latin American countries are reaching their growth ceiling, more in the corporative sector that on the business one and more centered around large cities than in untapped tourist destinations. Consistent with our predictions for 2013, Lima and Bogota have been seeing growth in the corporate mid-class segment and the so called “boutique hotel industry.”

Chile is putting a stop (softly) to its economy, while domestic tourism grows with new personal and design hotels. Brazil continues, albeit more politely, its growth to give hospitality to the World Cup and Olympic hype for 2014 and 2016. Among Asian countries we announced last year that Sri Lanka would become a new tiger for tourism. Well, this year the government has announced public and private investments to triple hotel capacity from 2014 to 2016. China continues its growth with the aim to achieve in the next 10 years, 6.3 million beds and a volume of investment close to 100,000 million dollars. As much as they built in the past decade, China’s per capita ratio of hotel rooms (four per 1,000 people) is lower than in the U.S. (20 per 1,000 people). Continue reading

You Will Pay the Hotel with your Mobile

iBeacon, the digital beacon that could transform into not delaying the most popular payment system because of its simplicity, range or virtual interconnection between the buyer and the seller. It’s my daily routine in New York. If I don’t get to take the metro, I hail a taxi from the thousands that go up and down on the streets. A soon as I get in, I take out my iPhone and open the apps Uber or Way2Ride, which most cab drivers are affiliated with. As soon as the app starts, two buttons appear: I Need a Taxi, which will help me locate one in case I’m living outside radio range, and I’m in the Taxi, which will mark me as being in a cab already. And that’s it. Once I’ve reached my destination, as the ad suggest on TV’s cab, I open the door, and give the cabbie that took me there a warming bye-bye.

In New York it’s becoming a habit to not pay for taxis, or even some trifle sold in Macy’s stores. Soon it will not be required to pay for travel by subway, or lunch at the restaurant on the corner. By this I mean, it is not paid in cash, or by credit card. The various applications connect to the taxi system, the cashier in the department stores Continue reading

Airbnb and the unalienable right to exist

Owners of a house rented by airBnB

Guess, guess … What would be the biggest dream of an hotelier? No doubt, it would be that homeownership was prohibited. If it were up to the tourist industry, citizens would be obliged by law to rent a hotel room … of course.

No, the idea is not surreal. This is what follows from the hotel lobby actions against the explosion of the phenomenon of residential exchanges. The Airbnb concept today moves more than 9 million passengers worldwide. The lodging on offer surpasses the figure of 500,000 units, from single rooms to multi-housing properties in 33,000 cities in over 190 countries. If we compare these figures with those of hotel empires such as Marriott International, which manages 3,800 hotels and 666,000 rooms, the conclusion drawn by the dean of the division of the Preston Robert Tisch Center, Bjorn Hanson, is that Airbnb is “the biggest brand of accommodation in the world.” And it has achieved that in just seven years.

Airbnb was founded by three Americans – Nathan Blecharczyk, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky – in 2007. After the legend of startups born in a garage, the idea was the development of an ecosystem based on accommodating friends. They called it Air, because they thought they would lodge them using inflatable mattresses, and BnB, for bed and breakfast. Continue reading