Illustrations by Erin Miller
When you work at Tablet, you are immersed in hotels. We’ve seen just about everything that the hotel industry has to offer — and we also know what it hasn’t thought to try yet. That’s why for this story we’ve asked our staff to think not about amazing hotels that already exist, but to imagine the types of hotels they hope to see exist in the future. We got back a wide range of replies, and the six most unique and entertaining submissions are featured below — including one that’s so peculiar, the creator asked to remain anonymous.
NICOLAS HAGNER – ENGINEERING
The Learning Hotels
For his hotel, Nicolas imagines a place where one goes to learn new things. Some hotels — though typically not those featured on Tablet — tend to keep you isolated from your surroundings with an all-inclusive, all on-site experience that lacks a connection with the destination you traveled to. But at The Learning Hotel, you learn the unique day-to-day trades and activities of the local population, from the ordinary to the unusual.
For example, in the Himalayas outpost, you’ll learn to herd yaks. In the Hollywood location, you’ll learn to build movie sets. For the Paris branch there’s rooftop beekeeping. And in Sri Lanka, might we interest you in lumberjacking with elephants? If you find all of that too tame, The Learning Hotels have pop-up experiences in remote locales where you can be a welder on an offshore platform, or put out forest fires with an amphibious water bomber.
ALYSE SARTI – HOTEL PARTNERSHIPS
The Cork Hotel
Alyse imagines a hotel made entirely of cork. Now, before you get to thinking that a hotel made entirely out of cork might be a bit monotonous, you should first be aware of how versatile the material is, and aware of how good you’ll feel knowing just how environmentally friendly your stay will be. In fact, cork might wind up playing a central role in the future of construction.
ArchDaily describes cork as being “a model of a sustainable industry and building material. By its very nature, cork is both recyclable and renewable, as it is the only tree that regenerates its bark, while harvesting that bark causes the tree no harm.” They go on to celebrate its waterproof nature, its resistance to flame, and its virtues as an insulator. NASA has even used cork on the space shuttle, so certainly it’s good enough for a hotel!
After a trip to Sardinia, a major production center of cork, Alyse discovered that cork can be used to make pretty much anything, and envisions putting that to use in The Cork Hotel. Even those features that aren’t made of cork will still follow its lead by being 100% sustainable, with amenities in glass bottles instead of plastic, hemp towels, filtered water taps, Himalayan salt lamps, etc. And just so everything isn’t all “corky brown”, there will be splashes of color throughout the hotel from natural decorations like fresh flowers (white hydrangeas, red gerbera daisies), and also nods to indulgent luxury with classic gilded mirrors that contrast smartly with the modern vibe.
MITCHELL FRIEDMAN – EDITORIAL
The Candlelight Hotel
Mitchell submitted two ideas with a common theme that everyone loves: twinkly lights. His first idea was called The Glorm Rooms, and they set out to do for dorm life what Glamping did for camping. The Glorm Rooms let you revisit your university years in a more glamorous fashion than the first go-round. Glorm Rooms feature a Sub-Zero mini-fridge stocked with handles of top-shelf booze, panna cotta shots, and the remnants of Michelin-star meals ready for your microwave. They also feature the one thing no proper dorm room can do without: strands of Christmas lights.
Which brings us to the more sophisticated of his two incandescent ideas: The Candlelight Hotel.
Not a hint of artificial light in the building, the Candlelight Hotel is housed within a Gothic Castle, the corridors lit by baroque candelabras à la Hogwarts. The rooms are a different vibe entirely, with modern interiors lit by stubby flames of colorful wax. Call in advance to request what sort you’d like in your room — scented or unscented, Tahitian vanilla or lemon lavender? The baths at the Candlelight Hotel are also legendary, with the candle aromas mingling with your colorful, scented water. At night, enjoy ghost-stories by professional orators and shadow puppets by skillful puppeteers.
What makes The Candlelight Hotel so unique is how fully it commits to its concept without giving in to the overload of kitsch that many themed hotels often suffer from. Within all adults is an urge to experience something as magical as The Candlelight Hotel, but usually such experiences are reserved for children. (What grown-up doesn’t daydream of clearing out their kids and diving head first into a ball pit or bouncy castle?) The Candlelight brings an all-encompassing luxury fantasy to life, and it does it without losing sight of the needs of the stylish modern traveler — and without being a tacky sex hotel.
ELISSA COFIELD – CUSTOMER SERVICE
As head of our Customer Service department, it’s no surprise that Elissa’s dream hotel of the future aims to make the guest experience as seamless and personalized as possible. In our always-connected, on-demand world, it’s important that consumers know exactly what they’re getting and have the ability to customize it to their individual tastes. Her crusade begins with a series of luxurious lakefront cabins. Each guest has their own cabin, along with their own dock and their own raft. They also have their own outdoor hot tub for winter nights, a well-stocked wine fridge, and a mini bar full of high-quality snacks.
But here’s where things really get unique: before arriving, guests would choose from a menu of available amenities in order to thoroughly design their experience. They would be able to select everything from their preferred brand of shower gel and shampoo to whatever pillows, sheets, comforters, and blankets they desire. Do you want satin sheets and cashmere blankets? No problem! Guests will also be able to specify their exact size of robes and slippers, because one size does not fit all. Last but not least, guests can choose their cabin so they know precisely what they’re getting, what the layout and the view and is, and where on the property it’s located.
Best of all, one price covers everything (including wifi).
The Birthday Hotel
For most, The Birthday Hotel is a nightmare. But for one employee at Tablet, it is their dream. This employee recognizes how insane their dream sounds, and has requested we keep their name out of print. Probably a wise decision, for the person who would enjoy something like The Birthday Hotel should probably be asked to submit to a drug test. It was a controversial addition to the list, to be sure, but we felt there was something so specifically terrifying about the concept that it needed to be shared with the world.
The gimmick of The Birthday Hotel? It’s always your birthday. The mini-fridge is stocked with cupcakes and champagne. Your room is decorated with bright birthday banners. Instead of a complimentary robe, a party hat hangs in your closet. You’re offered free candy in the elevator — because, heck, it’s your birthday. You deserve it. The restaurant is particularly festive, where not a minute passes without a band of merry servers chanting and clapping for another happy customer. Each customer, in fact, in turn. Because it’s everybody’s birthday, all the time.
KAT AYD – CUSTOMER SERVICE
The Karam Hotels
And finally, we end on an altruistic note that’s appropriate for this time of year. Karam is the Arabic word for generosity, and Kat gets into the holiday spirit by imagining a place for the displaced.
The Karam Hotels would exist in any urban center that is near a large refugee population. Kat uses Beirut, Lebanon as a test concept, and her hotel would almost exclusively employ residents of the bordering Burj el-Barajneh and Shatila refugee camps. And they wouldn’t just be staff members — the culture and tradition of the refugees would be incorporated into the fabric of the hotel and its neighborhood, creating a symbiotic relationship between it and the surrounding communities. A large portion of hotel profits would also be dedicated to the development of infrastructure within the camps. That’s the kind of socially-conscious hotel idea we’d love to see more of in this world.
Happy Holidays to you and yours from everyone here at Tablet. We’ll see you in 2019, where hopefully we’ll discover some hotels as exciting as the ones above.