With so many choices of hotel brands out there, it’s getting harder to keep track. Marriott alone is broken down into 30 (!) brands, while Hilton offers a mere 15. It’s no longer as easy as saying, “I like Marriott, should I pick a Fairfield Inn or a Courtyard?”
Many of the new brands are geared for a millennial demographic (more “hip” and less hip replacement). What’s a traveler over the age of 50 to do?
We’ve stayed at several of these so-called hipster boutique hotels recently and have found that, despite the marketing, many of the guests on-site were in the middle-age through baby boomer cohort; we fit right in.
A common theme among this newer breed of lodging is smaller, minimalist-designed guest rooms balanced with larger common areas. The traditional lobby and separate bar configuration has been replaced with a multi-purpose lounge, where lingering over a coffee or beer is encouraged, whether with friends or catching up on work using the high-speed Internet.
Canopy: You’d be forgiven if you looked at the website for this Hilton chain and thought they were the spot for fun-filled pillow-fight-laden millennial sleepovers in romper rooms. Fortunately, the reality is a bit more sedate.
We really enjoyed our stay at the Canopy in Reykjavik. The extensive breakfast spread was one of the best we’ve seen anywhere, and we loved the bright orange footie socks they provided instead of traditional slippers. (We still have them.)
The lobby was lined with shelves full of vinyl records, which guests could borrow to take to their room, along with a portable record player. Based on the plethora of classic rock, we’d say those age 50-plus would feel right at home. (Plus, we actually know how to use a record player!)
H’Otello: This German mini-chain bills itself as “urban lifestyle” with a touch of luxury. The rooms were small and modern, with incredibly comfortable beds. But the real attraction during our Berlin stay was the lounge.
It felt like our own super chic living room with its see-through glass crystal fireplace and great personal sound systems. Sitting in plush armchairs, we could get into the groove using the hotel’s audiophile-friendly Sennheiser headphones and iPads preloaded with a wide array of music.
Moxy: Other than staying at a room over a pub on an English road trip, this new hotel in Copenhagen, part of a Marriott chain, is the only one where we’ve checked in at the bar. There is no traditional registration desk; the lobby/family room is casually split up into separate communal areas for people to either work, meet, or eat. Giant flamingos, bicycle sculptures, and a gorilla wearing headphones complete the work/play tableau.
At first the setup seemed odd, but it grew on us. We found it a welcoming place to chill with a beverage after a day of sightseeing, or to set up a de-facto office on those days when we were working.
Hotels are developing products to appeal to millennials, but, at least for now, baby boomers and Gen-Xers are a larger demographic, with more disposable income and time to travel. So, don’t be turned off by the “too cool for school” marketing when considering lodging options. We found that older generations fit right in, too.