A sweet suite with scratch-and-sniff wallpaper and other hotel news you missed this month

Apr 30, 2022

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For me, spring is the best time of the year. It means the colder months are mostly behind us and summer, with its sunscreen-scented heat, is soon to come. I fell in love with hotels in the spring and summer while crisscrossing the country with my parents during work trips from sea to shining sea.

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Now, as a hotels reporter, it’s my duty to keep you, loyal readers, up to date on what’s going on in the hotel world, both right here in the U.S. and beyond. We do our best to keep you current on stories about the most important matters — like the hotels we’re most excited to see open this spring and how hotels are one of the driving forces of U.S. inflation (sigh). However, there are smaller stories that sometimes have to take a backseat. (We are only human, there are only so many hours in the day, we cover basically the whole world and so on and so forth, etc., etc.)

In my monthly news roundup, those backseat stories get a chance to shine — and oftentimes they’re my favorite to report on. And speaking of reporting, when I joined TPG last year as the company’s senior hotels reporter, I was a one-man team. Thankfully, I now have reinforcements as the super talented and in-the-know journalist Cameron Sperance has joined the team. He’s also a senior hotels reporter, and will help you better understand your rights as an Airbnb guest, as well as why a company would build a $3 billion casino off the Las Vegas Strip.

Together, and with the help of all our incredible TPG crew, we’re gearing up to take our hotel coverage to the next level to help you maximize your travel. With that, here’s the hotel news you might have missed in April.

All Design Hotels will integrate into Marriott Bonvoy

large hotel room with bed, green headboard, velvet pink chairs and wooden floor
(Photo courtesy of Design Hotels)

I’m obsessed with Design Hotels, a collection of over 300 independent hotels dotting the globe, of which a handful are currently active in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program. In fact, earlier this month I stayed at Chapter Roma, a Design Hotels affiliate that’s seriously, in my humble opinion, one of the most charming hotels in Italy. For me, picking a property that resonates with me in terms of design and energy, like Chapter Roma, is always a priority over picking a hotel simply based on my own allegiance to a particular loyalty program. Unfortunately, the hotel wasn’t active in Marriott Bonvoy, but I booked it anyway.

Now, it’s been announced that Design Hotels is launching a new affiliation program that will roll out starting this summer and will eventually see all of the hotels in the portfolio participate in Marriott Bonvoy. A Marriott spokesperson confirmed to TPG that guests will have the opportunity to earn and redeem points, earn elite qualifying nights and receive other benefits “as non-participating hotels convert to the new Design Hotels Affiliation model over the next few years and as new properties join the Design Hotels portfolio.”

This is exciting news for everyone because die-hard Bonvoy fans will now have access to more hotels — in particular, the ones I find most charming and true to the spirit of the destination. Also, folks who might not be interested in points and miles will have a reason to start taking advantage of a program that will help them stay in more places while earning rewards and potentially free future stays. If you find yourself in that latter category, here’s a primer on the Marriott Bonvoy program to get you up to speed. And seriously, if you find yourself in Rome, you won’t regret a stay at Chapter Roma.

These Hilton brands might be your new favorites

view of roof deck overlooking blue waters and beach
(Photo courtesy of Hilton)

Canopy by Hilton, Tempo by Hilton and Motto by Hilton are the Hilton brands to keep your eye on right now. There’s also a big chance you might consider one for your next stay as the three brands make up 20% of the company’s lifestyle category pipeline.

For me, Canopy is a solid brand that’s community-driven and laid-back. It offers guests the chance to feel like they’re in a hotel that’s unique to that city and not just a cookie-cutter property you could find anywhere. I’m excited to check out new properties in Nashville and Cannes, France. Tempo, with its Peloton bikes, Bluestone Lane coffee and stylish rooms, will be making new homes in Nashville (two, in fact); Memphis; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and San Diego. Additionally, Motto, a brand with smaller rooms that are still big on design, is taking Brazil by storm with locations in Sao Paulo and Recife.

Meet the ‘first anticipated net-zero hotel’ in the US

large concrete building with solar panels on the roof
(Photo courtesy of Hilton)

Speaking of Hilton, the Hotel Marcel New Haven, part of the Tapestry Collection, is changing what we know about how hotels operate as it’s set to be “the first net-zero hotel in the United States,” according to the company. Operating independent of fossil fuels and with zero carbon emissions, this hotel, set in a ’70s-era Brutalist-style building, will have 165 guest rooms and suites and is slated to open May 19. Sustainability is a huge focus for hotels right now, and this one is upping the ante with heat and hot water power being generated from solar panels, electric car charging stations and a “Power Over Ethernet” lighting system that reduces lighting energy use by more than 30%.

This NYC hotel suite has an edible wall, ice cream bed and on-demand sundae service

Wall with maps and snacks pinned to the word "Adventure"
(Photo courtesy of McCormick)

Sometimes hotels are more than just hotels. They become interactive experiences that include scratch-and-sniff wallpaper, photo booths and even an “edible wall” with snacks from around the world. Food brand McCormick, the one that makes all your favorite spices, teamed up with the Omni Berkshire Place hotel in New York City to create the Flavor Suite, an over-the-top penthouse experience that celebrates up-and-coming flavor trends we’ll likely see at bars, restaurants and even in our own kitchens.

Though you can’t book this suite with points, some lucky folks will have an opportunity to stay for a weekend in the converted 1,000-square-foot Rodgers & Hammerstein Suite. They’ll also be able to take advantage of a phone linked directly to someone who will deliver ice cream topped with international flavors (trust me, the spicy Mexican chamoy is mwah!) and a bar with blood orange and beet margaritas. To win the stay slated for May 20-22, download McCormick’s Flavor Maker app on iOS or Android to enter between now and May 10.

In other news

Recent hotel reviews to inspire your next trip

Featured photo courtesy of McCormick.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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