Remember when hotels didn’t have pillowtop beds … or rain showers … or turndown gifts? We do. Here, the 10 best hotel innovations from the past decades — just try to imagine your hotel stay without them (it’s not easy).
1. The Celebrity Chef Restaurant, debuted c. 1997
Jean-Georges Vongerichten opened his much-lauded namesake restaurant in the Trump International Hotel and Tower 15 years ago. Now, celebrity chef collaborations are the norm, and foodies flock to hotels for their prix-fixe menus.
2. The Pillowtop Bed, debuted c. 1999
It’s launched a thousand copycats: Westin’s Heavenly Bed, a lofty mattress topped with down blankets, now found throughout the hotel universe.
3. The Return of the Read, debuted c. 2000
Forget those mediocre hotel magazines. Today’s bibliophiles head to the hotel reading room for a large selection of titles. The Study at Yale in New Haven has its collection curated by the legendary N.Y.C.-based Strand bookstore.
We’ve witnessed the birth of the best of hotel innovations … and, alas, some of the worst. Here are the ones we wish would just die already.
1. The Pillow Menu, debuted c. 1997
Mustique’s Cotton House Resort was the first to offer a bedside card with a selection of fancy pillows, and the idea soon went worldwide. But really, who cares? It’s an overly cute service that sets off our gimmick radar. Just keep the pillows clean and neatly stuffed. We’ll pass on the buckwheat hulls.
2. Club Lighting, debuted c. 1998
You could be in sunny South Beach and not know it, thanks to the dim, multicolored lighting in some hotels. Last we checked, we paid for a room, not a private discotheque.
3. The Hotel Channel, debuted c. 2000
Question: Wouldn’t it be fun if guests had a TV channel with information about the hotel accompanied with a sound track of elevator music? And if whenever they turned on the TV, it would always revert to that channel? Answer: No. It takes hours (well, it feels like hours) to scroll through every channel to find one we like. Why would we want to repeat that process every time we hit the power button?
- The Search for a Night’s Rest (nytimes.com)
- The Benjamin Caters to Families with Kid-Friendly Experience Package (nycitymama.com)
- Miami-Dade hotels make magazine’s best list (miamiherald.com)
- Saving a Buck: Hotel deals (kfor.com)
- Influx of Celebrity Chefs makes Miami and Miami Beach a new Foodie Haven (ediningnews.wordpress.com)