Four years ago, luxury consumption shifted away from goods and material possessions towards experiences, travel, and dining. As such, a hotel is no longer just a bed for the night, but an opportunity to indulge the senses, feed the ego, and add a touch of magic to everyday life.
But for some, a luxury hotel experience is hard to describe. It’s a combination of elements that come together in a unique fashion, creating an aura of elegance, opulence, and character. Notably, a luxury hotel experience doesn’t feel forced – it’s an innate character that flows through the lobby, into the bar and dining area, around the rooms, and out onto the roof terrace.
How do you create such a luxury hotel experience?
It’s all to do with the senses.
1. Use stunning visuals
You’ve heard the phrase “presentation is everything.” Our brains are hard-wired for visuals, which means aesthetic indicators influence our immediate and long-lasting feelings of a hotel.
For example, when you walk into the Ritz hotel, you’re greeted with a spiraling staircase, grand piano, elegant furnishings, and smartly dressed staff. But even without the steeped history of the Ritz, you can create a luxury hotel experience using stunning visuals throughout your property:
High-quality audiovisual screens, such as LG’s LED screens, allow you to create an immersive entrance into your lobby that’s personalized with welcome messages for your guests. This creates a VIP experience that is both exciting and welcoming.
Working with local artists, you can add unique artwork to guest rooms and common areas. You can even commission pieces to reflect different themes and allow guests the option to purchase their favorite designs.
A bar fully stocked with world-renowned wines, spirits, and campaigns is a luxury visual that’s hard to ignore. Use an open bar design that allows guests to see and order their favorite high-end tipple.
2. Create memorable scents
Smell is one of the most powerful emotional senses we have, immediately sparking memories and evoking feelings. It’s also one of the first senses to act – influencing the feelings of the remaining four.
For this reason, many luxury hotels work with a perfumer to build a signature scent that evokes feelings of grandeur while creating subtle brand recognition.
And pumping out your signature scent in the hotel lobby isn’t the only place you can get creative with smells. You can also:
- Add fresh flowers to guest rooms every morning
- Add a signature-scented body spray in the bathrooms and restrooms
- Use a uniquely scented laundry spray on all bed lines
Some luxury hotel scents are so popular that they bottle and sell them as room sprays, diffusers, and candles.
3. Invest in your audio
Background music sets the scene, whether it’s calmness in a busy lobby, romance in a candle-lit restaurant, or pleasure in a private bedroom.
Think of music as a way to subtly enhance the perception created by the other five senses. This means you don’t want your music to distract guests from their experience.
Accordingly, the following are critical:
- Volume: music volume is important for creating an ambiance and not a live concert. Guests should hear the words sung, but your music shouldn’t be loud enough to disrupt conversations.
- Quality: clear, crisp audio is essential for a luxury hotel. Invest in high-end audio equipment, such as Bose, for quality audio across your lobby, bar, dining area, and guest rooms. Some luxury hotels even put Bose speakers in guest bathrooms for the ultimate treat.
- Genre: pick a genre of music that suits your brand. You don’t have to play classical music to create a luxury hotel experience unless that’s what your target clientele enjoys.
4. Don’t forget about touch
Touch is one of the more forgotten about senses, but it plays a huge role in creating a luxury hotel experience.
Humans have two touch systems: one that gives facts and one that creates emotions. Ideally, you want to target both – telling guests you’re a luxury hotel and making them feel like they’re bathing in luxury.
People stay in expensive hotels because they know they’re guaranteed a brilliant night’s sleep, and this is because of your bedding. Think soft sheets, supportive mattresses, and fluffy pillows. Even better, offer guests a pillow and duvet menu to choose from when they first check-in.
Allow people to use their touch to access hotel information, room service, and travel guides by adding interactive digital screens to guest areas. Or, some luxury hotels provide a room iPhone with pre-downloaded information, maps, and travel guides for guests to take with them on their travels.
Soft hands, silky hair, smooth feet – stock your guest bathrooms with toiletries that feel nice to use and are a real treat. If you have the budget, invest in showers and bathtubs that come with spa functionalities, such as jet streams, steam options, and integrated speakers.
5. Tantalize and satisfy their appetite
When people really want to indulge in luxury, they usually head straight for food and drink. After your audiovisuals, luxury scents, soft furnishings, and high-quality background music have set the scene of your luxury hotel experience it’s time to treat the tastebuds.
Ways to do this include:
- Providing a free glass of champagne or canapes upon arrival
- Placing luxury chocolates on pillowcases and complimentary refreshments in the mini-bar
- Allowing guests to order room service quickly and easily with interactive screens
A luxury hotel experience is more than a grand hotel with years of history and plenty of staff. It’s a feeling that guests have the moment they walk up to the lobby right through until they check-out.
It’s about subtly perfecting every aspect of their stay to create a priceless experience that guests want to return to, recommend, and pay for.
And, most importantly, it is about indulging every one of the senses and creating a magical experience away from home.