From marijuana tourism to rooms reserved for weeping women, travel is full of quirky new accommodation genres.
Bed & beverage
Image via: The Hospital Club
Who says hotel offerings have to revolve around food? In the bed-and-beverage model, booze rules supreme. Experimental Cocktail Club’s first hotel, Paris’s sharp Grand Pigalle, has equipped every quarter with a cocktail-making kit, for instance, while dialling room service gets you the bartender downstairs. New LA speakeasy The Walker Inn, will imminently open eight chambers for drunken guests’ relief. And London’s Hospital Club—a creative hub, restaurant and social space—is now offering bedrooms. These aren’t hotels with a bar; they’re bars with a hotel.
Bud & breakfast
Image via: 10 Best
Groovy. When possession of cannabis became legal earlier last year in Colorado, pot tourists began flocking to the American state. However, with public consumption of marijuana remaining illegal, a problem ensued: where to partake? Toking to the rescue came enterprising, weed-welcome hotels and even an eponymous Airbnb-style website, Bud & Breakfast, listing herb-loving homestays. The latter now extends much further afield, with options in Uruguay, Jamaica and Alaska.
Since May, eight suites at Tokyo’s Mitsui Garden Yotsuya hotel have become designated ‘Crying Rooms’. In a rather sexist move, these are available only to female clientele; the stated aim is to help women to de-stress and overcome emotional problems by weeping ‘heartily’ in private. Should those pesky eyes refuse to water, the helpful array of tear-jerking aides include films like Forrest Gump, manga comic books and cashmere-soft tissues. There’s also make-up remover to vanquish any tell-tale mascara smudges come the morning.
Staying in Japan, Nagasaki’s new Henn na hotel is almost entirely staffed by robots in a uniquely futuristic cost-cutting move. Those workers include, bizarrely, a dinosaur receptionist responsible for check-ins, a life-like female android and a giant left-luggage porter. It seemingly works, though: rooms start at £35 a night, which is very good in Japanese terms.
Opening in Amsterdam in autumn—with future branches in London, Berlin, Paris and Barcelona—new chain ZOKU boldly promises to herald ‘the end of the hotel room’. A sort of aparthotel-poshtel mash-up, they’ll offer ‘home-office hybrids’ low on space but high on functionality. Notable features are loft sleep areas accessed via retracting staircases and, replacing traditional hotel staff, Sidekicks: buddy-like employees 'rooted in the local scene'. Is this the future?
Image via: Virgin Hotels
Sir Richard Branson has pledged ‘female-friendly’ rooms at his new Virgin Hotels chain. At the first, in Chicago, that means a tiled bench in the shower at perfect leg-shaving height, separate his-and-hers wardrobes, a purpose vanity table and—a real rarity—powerful hairdryers. For $20 (about £13) extra, a cheeky Intimacy Kit contains condoms, lube and a vibrator.
In an advent of our times, Vermont’s West Hill House B&B has introduced a ‘Bed-Electron-Breakfast’ package for drivers of electric vehicles, complete with chargers. Two other hotels in the eastern state offer this facility, along with Marriott branches from Chile and Copenhagen to Manchester and Tokyo.
Hotels welcoming pets is nothing new, but some properties have truly upped their game, with top-notch pet service. Loews Hotels' Loews Loves Pets, Kimpton Hotels' Very Important Pets and W Hotels' Pets Are Welcome programmes exemplify this trend. Among the offerings are welcome treats, specialised room service menus and pet massages. Pet stays at Kimpton hotels are even free, as they are at New York City's Soho Grand, where dog runs are suggested.