Crafting the modern hotel experience
5 Jun 2018
Identifying as “part developer, part operator, part creative studio”, this London-based hospitality hybrid is known for resurrecting unique spaces into buzzing hubs. They’re perhaps best known as the masterminds behind The Hoxton, a series of open house hotels focussed on inspiring cultural discovery in different neighbourhoods around the globe. They’ve also re-established Gleneagles, a luxury historical resort in Scotland and, more recently, are launching a brand of upscale budget hotels under the brand NoCo.
We sat down with CMO Martina Luger, who comes to the world of hospitality from over a decade working in brand marketing at Nike Inc., to find out more about how they infuse community and experience into their spaces.
Ennismore represents brands like The Hoxton, Gleneagles and soon NoCo, which are all aimed at different audiences. How do your brands nurture one another?
All the brands in the Ennismore family really hone in on creating memorable experiences. At The Hoxton, it’s about traveling like a local. At Gleneagles, it’s about the glorious playground, the incredible food and the country pursuits. At NoCo, it’s great value and a beautiful bed for the night. Guests are able to go to our properties and restaurants expecting a certain level of service and great design.
What are your criteria for picking new markets to expand to?
Our team is constantly traveling the globe, looking for buzz-worthy neighborhoods. We open our doors in cities and neighborhoods where we personally want to hang out in. There’s got to be something about the area that makes us want to keep coming back, time and time again.
How do you integrate your hotels into the local communities?
The Hoxton is big on local. Everything from the designers that we work with to the events programme we organise, embraces the neighborhood and the local communities that we're in. For our events, which are for both guests and locals, we work with brands, retailers, creatives and start-ups in the neighborhood to bring the best of the outside in.
Similarly, we actively encourage our neighbors and locals to eat, drink, work and play in our lobbies — there's an open house vibe, we want everyone to treat it like home. Our Hox Friends initiative was created to further engage with the community, while giving our guests the most authentic experience possible. We handpick 100+ locals in each city to share their tips on a dedicated Instagram page, @hoxfriends, which are shared in the hotel’s breakfast bags each day.
What’s been The Hoxton’s secret to success?
We inspire discovery in key neighborhoods around the globe and our doors are open to one and all. We don’t have one type of guest, we welcome everyone in with open arms, and there are no hidden secrets — we’re honest and open about our rates, room sizes, and what we’re here to do. Our cultural events program brings the best of the outside in, and our Hox Guides and Hox Friends programme give our guests a truly authentic experience.
The Hoxton was originally established in Shoreditch. How did you go about translating the brand to fit different countries such as the US?
Our open-door, open-mind policy is what makes The Hoxton so unique, and our fluid, welcoming spaces are a real reflection of that. You’ll find the Hoxton Hustle in every hotel. It’s the buzz and the vibe that flows through our lobbies, where locals and guests come to work on their laptops, meet friends, catch up over coffee or cocktails, whatever the time of day.
There are definitely some elements you’re going to find in every Hoxton — we’ve always done things a little differently, such as the free breakfast bag, free phone calls, and pay-by-the-hour late checkout.
That said, we’re also big on being an authentic reflection of the neighbourhoods we’re in. We work with local designers for the rooms, textiles and artwork, and pull inspiration from the streets that surround us — for example, the raw and concrete-style finishes in the Williamsburg rooms are a reflection of the site's history as the former factory of the Rosenwach water towers.
Can you tell us about the strategy behind your new project, NoCo?
NoCo reimagines the budget hotel model by offering guests a more authentic experience at a lower cost, with everything they need and nothing they don’t. Tech will be a big focus, as will clever design. The brand ethos is all about beautiful essentials, making the most of the space with clever solutions, and the communal areas will be relaxed and welcoming.
What cities excite you?
Havana. It’s one of the most fascinating and beautiful places. It’s a true travel experience in the sense that it transports you to another world and another time.
Also, Amsterdam. I lived there for 10 years and still think it’s magical to be able to have the best that a small village and a cultural city can offer on your doorstep.
And of course, London. Being a born and bred Londoner, I still look up every day and see something new that makes me smile. It’s constantly changing and surprising you.
What makes a great travel experience?
Meeting interesting characters in normal, everyday situations. For me, it’s the people that create those special memories more than the actual places. It’s about those serendipitous moments when you get under the skin of a place and suddenly get to really feel what it would be like to live there.