NEW YORK—Long gone are the days of basic hotel minibars. It’s now trendy—and timely—to choose minibar selections for a more refined palate, whether it be fancy bottled water or what the people at 1 Hotels are bringing to the guest experience.
Barry Sternlicht, the man behind the now Marriott-owned Starwood Hotels & Resorts and the creator of W Hotels, founded 1 Hotels in 2015. “The world around us is beautiful and we want to keep it that way” is 1 Hotels mantra.
Now, the boutique hotel brand is spreading that beauty—and the good—into its guest services options.
Good Things and Not-So-Good Things originates from a brainstorming session with the 1 Hotels team, looking at what to do from a brand perspective with minibars. Since the boutique hotel brand is all about keeping things natural, it wanted to provide an authentic experience for its guests with quality, local products. “We wanted to cater to guests’ interests and guests’ needs, and to really showcase our brand and put our own spin on the traditional hotel minibar,” said Kane Sarhan, VP of brand, 1 Hotels.
1 Hotels took a different approach to options and didn’t just look at the staple food items most hotels have in-room. The hotel brand went a step further and flipped the proverbial switch on the in-room experience by instead offering a curated selection of products and experiences, specifically catered to each of its three properties. Some items are across the brand, but others are from local and regional vendors, such as Nantucket-based Nativ Made juices, which also has a retail location at 1 Hotel South Beach.
“Brandwide, our most popular is our Juice and Vitamin Drop, which is available at all our properties. The juices are all locally sourced, whether they are made right downstairs at Nativ Made at our South Beach property; a few blocks from our Brooklyn property at Jus by Julie; or from our restaurant at Central Park,” shared Sarhan.
But fresh, local options are not the only thing that sets 1 Hotels apart from its competition—it’s extending services to all of its guests. Take, for example, the Seedlings Explorer Pack. Normally, one might not think of a boutique hotel being a children’s mecca, but 1 Hotels begs to differ.
“Our South Beach location is a kids’ paradise…on the beach with four pools. It’s a large property so we are really able to segment the guests. The rooftop pool is for the adults. And the main center pool? Well, that’s kids central,” he said.
1 Hotels also offers a camping experience for its younger guests, complete with a sleeping bag, tent and healthy snacks. “It’s fun for kids to feel like they’re camping out in a hotel room,” said Sarhan.
Many young families travel through the brand’s Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge locations and 1 Hotels is providing healthy snacks and good experiences for their youngsters in tow. “When you’re traveling with kids and you’re on the road, you want them to have a healthy, clean snack that’s not from a pretzel cart. You can just grab it from the hotel and take it for the day. It makes the parents’ lives that much easier,” said Sarhan.
And the Not-So-Good things? Well, they have a do-good component to them. The classic package of junk food is only delivered to guestrooms at 1 Hotels during the hours of 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Proceeds from this effort go to Action Against Hunger, a national nonprofit that fights hunger on a global level. “We want to give back whenever we can. We want to spread awareness about causes we care about. Having a partner like Action Against Hunger’s Porridge Moms project and promoting them is really fulfilling our brand promise as being a platform for change,” said Sarhan. “We are a hotel that’s not just about being in a beautifully designed building with amazing service and luxury accommodations. We want to contribute to a bigger purpose, something much larger in life. Things that are important are always inspiring.” In turn, guests are doing good—by eating bad.
As far as marketing the 1 Hotels guest experience, the brand relies on strong social media campaigns and marketing through booking and the front desk. “Our front-of-house employees will ask the guests what they’re here for and offer curated experiences. Others, though, are designed to be spur-of-the-moment, like our Mix & Muddle Social, featuring a bar cart with homemade syrups for mixing,” Sarhan said. “A bartender will come up to your room and make cocktails—a little more opportunistic than our planned services.”
Sarhan concluded, “We want to get to a point where everything is a home run… no fillers.” HB