We went searching for inspiration in our December issue. We looked at art exhibits and fashion, innovative architecture and technology that reimagines what four walls can be. Here at HD HQ, we want our pages to be aspirational, and a side effect of exploring these other areas is that we ended up inspiring ourselves as well.
Indeed, even in our own industry, the idea of what a hotel can be is ever evolving. Take, for example, Hotel Max in Seattle, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with a renovation and rebranding. The hotel, a member of Provenance Hotels, is disrupting the very notion of the hotel gift shop. “First and foremost, we always, always, always, are very locally driven and want to support the local economy,” says Provenance principal and president Bashar Wali. “This happens by supporting small businesses that are popping up and doing innovative things.”
Because iconic Seattle independent record label Sup Pop was celebrating 25 years, it made sense to integrate the piece of the city’s history to the hotel. And what is Seattle if not a music city in its own right? Hotel Max’s fifth floor had been transformed into the Sup Pop floor with record players in every room and artwork and photography celebrating the label’s artists and music. Soon after, the hotel added a retail display in the lobby, allowing guests to purchase souvenir-type items, including records. “It’s truly to create another element of interest in the space,” adds Wali.
It’s not the first time Provenance incorporated retail into one of its hotels. In New Orleans at the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery, the concept involves the work of a dozen partners who bring in handcrafted and locally made items into the hotel. “We bring the neighborhood in without having to leave the hotel,” Wali says. The retail space is shared with an art gallery, adding authenticity and another area of interest.
“It’s curating moments and experiences,” Wali adds about adding unconventional elements to the lobby space. “It’s not about heads in beds, it’s not shock and awe, it’s about bringing the city and best it has to offer into the hotel. It’s about helping the community in the process being good citizens—about being a part of the fabric of the cities we’re in.”