Themed hotels have been around for a long time but are having a resurgence. In the 90’s they were called ‘art hotels’ and each room would have a unique design so that every guest would have a different experience. Some felt like drifting into a wonderful dream. Others were just nightmares. One of my favorites is the Hotel Zaza in Dallas. They have concept suits designed around the Moulin Rouge, Out of Africa, and the East Indies. And my favorite, the Texas suite, complete with longhorns and a saddle to ride!!!
While people were once happy to have their expectations met, the market for unique brand experiences is growing at speed. Commoditization and masstige has only increased the desire for brands that go beyond expectations. People want ideas that wow - and are willing to pay good money for it.
Themed hotels use the power of storytelling and inspire guests by turning myths and legends into reality. You can live the dream for the duration of your stay, and be somewhere you thought impossible (in history, or in a movie). You can see it, smell it, taste it, and the hotel itself becomes the destination.
If you happen to be in Boston, go visit the The Liberty Hotel. It used to be a prison and still retains its penitentiary influence, but a $150 million refurbishment has transformed it into place you won’t ever want to leave. The Hard Days Night Hotel in Liverpool is completely inspired by The Beatles, and even larger hotel chains have created services to meet demand. At the Radisson in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, you can choose from one of 20 luxury fantasy suites. You can sleep in a ‘prehistoric cave’ or go ‘leather and lace’. Whatever your heart desires.