Whilst we all love the quirky touches of a boutique hotel, we also find it hard to resist the reliability and luxury that comes with staying at a big-name brand – but happily, there’s a whole new breed of hip hotel chains that give us the best of both worlds. Whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure, check out these stylish spin-offs from heavy-hitter groups like Hyatt, Intercontinental and Marriott for the perfect blend of urban cool, tech savvy and local flavour.
Marriott’s little sister range is a stylish, savvy and sociable alternative to anonymous business hotels. Designed, in the brand’s own words, “to give guests everything they want and nothing they don't at an affordable price”, Moxy launched its chic concept in Milan back in 2014, and has since branched out worldwide, with plenty more destinations in the pipeline. A playful attention to detail is the key to success here – think a complimentary welcome cocktail as you check in at the bar, chilled-out communal “living rooms” designed to break the ice, and 24/7 grab-and-go snacks for when you’re on a tight turnaround. Moxy’s rooms are no less enticing, with crisp linens, super-speedy WiFi and industrial-chic décor, making for an experience that’s less hotel, more urban loft sleepover.
A boutique chain with a difference, Sofitel’s MGallery hotels are dedicated to the finer things in life – be it literature, nature or history. Many of the upscale chain’s properties are beautifully restored historic buildings with a story to tell – for example, the neo-baroque Hotel Century Old Town Prague, built in the 19th century and one-time home to the insurance office that employed Franz Kafka. These days a bronze bust of Kafka greets guests as they enter the building and make their way to one of 169 art deco and cubist-inspired rooms. Typically of MGallery’s properties worldwide, the hotel features an excellent bar in which to gather over a perfectly mixed drink when the day is done.
The hipster offspring of the Intercontinental family, Hotel Indigo’s hundred-plus properties are renowned for delivering bagfuls of authentic local flavour – and since no two places are alike, no two Hotel Indigos are either. With a modern easy-going feel, this vibrant boutique chain is all about discovering the very best that each of its neighbourhoods has to offer, with unique city-specific details to match; for instance, the New York Lower East Side property features a custom mural by graffiti artist legend Lee Quiñones, whilst the design of the Singapore location is inspired by the country’s Perankan culture. Complimentary Wi-Fi, 24-hour fitness and business centres, and in-room neighbourhood guides stuffed with insider recommendations make Hotel Indigo a particularly popular choice with business travellers looking for a little more quirk during work trips.
Although still in its infancy as a chain, with just five – predominantly US-based – properties, Canopy is set to grow exponentially, launching 14 new hotels worldwide by the end of 2019. Hilton’s boutique chain comes with plenty of value-added extras, including free breakfast served at the hotel’s café or in-room, free and unlimited filtered water, and a welcome gift that’s uniquely themed to every location. A great choice for both business and leisure, guest rooms are decked out in calming neutral fabrics, with plenty of open-plan storage space and sleek, modern bathrooms. Canopy’s staff prides themselves on their local expertise, which translates into valuable intel on the hippest eateries, coolest bars and best insiders-only shopping in town.
Inspiration, creativity and community are at the heart of the Andaz brand, with 17 properties worldwide that effortlessly balance airy contemporary luxury with immersive local touches. As part of the Hyatt family, world-class hospitality is a given – all guests are welcomed with a complimentary beverage in the lounge, with a complimentary minibar and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel as standard. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find even more to enjoy though; each property hosts regular “Andaz Salon” interactive events with influencers, artists and residents, allowing guests to really plug into the city’s local culture, with Andaz Amsterdam even offering free one-hour guided bicycle tours of the neighbourhood.
If you thought in-room tablets were as advanced as hotel rooms could be, get ready to have your mind blown by the 21st century cool of Aloft – a slick, urban and supremely tech-savvy boutique chain from Starwood Hotels. We’re talking doors that can be opened with your smartphone or Apple watch, voice-activated room controls, emoji room service and even a robot butler called Botlr who delivers towels and toiletries straight to your room when requested via the Aloft app. The innovation doesn’t stop there; Re:Fuel, Aloft’s 24-hour one-stop shop for snacks and light bites, has just introduced a range of all-in-one portable breakfast pots… perfect for busy guests who need to fuel up on the fly.
A wellness-focused offshoot from Intercontinental group, the US-based EVEN chain is all about staying fit and healthy on the road. Working with a “wellness advisory board” to incorporate the cutting-edge of healthy travel trends, the hotels have been carefully designed to improve well-being, reduce stress and increase productivity – whether you’re staying for work or play. The typical EVEN room comes with its own cork-floored exercise zone, along with video workouts and a training guide. Keep hydrated with infused water, soak in the spa bathroom and get the best possible quality of sleep wrapped up in cool, eucalyptus-fibre bedding. With a full menu of healthy, delicious bites, plus a range of organic signature cocktails, a stay at EVEN is bound to leave you refreshed and revitalised.