Just Say No to this
We recently spoke with hospitality consultant Steven Kamali of Steven Kamali Hospitality, Inc. about the future of hotel restaurants, bars and lounges. And he told us to expect less celeb chef-helmed restaurants and more "restaurant concepts."
Kamali said guests will look for simpler things like burger shops, pizza joints and other "quick to-go restaurants." But of course, not any burger joint will do. Instead outposts of popular (and often NYC-based) restaurants like Blue Ribbon, Pop Burger and Shake Shack will do well in hotels, Kamali said. (Shake Shack has already opened at the IC Times Square while Blue Ribbon is bringing its menu to the new Cosmopolitan Resort in Vegas.)
But it won't end with restaurants. Kamali said recreational concepts like Brooklyn Bowl, a bowling alley/live music venue, could work as part of a hotel's entertainment offerings and which would be open to both guests and non-guests. There are plenty of new things to bring into hotels, hoteliers just have to be more open to going outside the norm. Kamali told us:
The one thing that most hoteliers forget to check off on their TO DO list is FUN.
The good news is some hotels are already starting to make the change. We've seen this fun trend in action from the Todd English Food Hall at The Plaza to the many offerings at The Ace Hotel which has a boutique shop, a sub shop, a coffee shop, a hot restaurant, The Breslin and a lobby that seemingly everyone wants to chill out in.
While Kamali called hotelier Andre Balazs' move to make the Boom Boom Room a private club after 10pm a smart business move, he said it also works because there are so many other venues on-site that guests can go to from the gift shop to the Biergarten, the Standard Grill, Le Bain and the lobby bar. (Note: We still maintain that BBR should open to be guests at any time.) And it looks like the Standard will add more fun to its offerings--the hotel just announced Sunday Bingo Nights.
The Counter at Thompson Toronto
Outside of New York, Thompson Toronto opened a 24-hour diner, The Counter, something they already have at The Roosevelt with 25 Degrees burger bar. These 24-hour joints serve delicious, non-fussy dishes that aren't quite gastropub fare but are far better quality than any roadside diner plates. And they're open all night, so the fun can continue after the bar closes or even after check-out.
Across the pond in London, The Stafford has their own idea of fun with "Pub Talks"--a night of drinking, eating and boozy conversation, while The Berkeley is doing movie nights with Chanel manicures, unlimited popcorn and Mulberry blankets. (Quite a few hotels actually do movie nights when the weather is nice.)
Down in Miami, the upcoming JW Marriott Marquis has plans for the following: a billiard room, virtual bowling room, virtual golf facility with an indoor putting green and a massive 10,000-square-foot NBA-approved basketball court. And well, we've been chronicling all the fun in Vegas for quite some time now from suites with basketball courts and bowling alleys to karaoke bars, beer pong, flip cups and the pool parties, just to name a few.
In Santa Monica at the Fairmont Miramar, the hotel has a more old-school idea of fun--scrabble and chess sets in the lobby that are open to guests and non-guests. In fact, that's where we recently spent one cold summer Sunday afternoon. Similarly The Bowery in New York has kept their fun low-key with books and boardgames.
Aside from the JW Marriott Marquis, we've not seen many bowling alleys popping up in hotels but we're digging this rec room idea. So hotels--bring on the ping pong, the pool tables, Pac-Man, Twister, CandyLand and Jenga. Those are far more exciting than your overpriced cocktails and private clubs anyways.
Had some FUN at a hotel recently? Tell us what you did and where!
[Paris Hilton Photo: The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa; All others: HotelChatter]