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Retailers check into the hotel business

As addressed in Cassandra’s SHOP Report, today’s youth look to brands to embody a lifestyle and forge connectedness, not merely purvey products. Some retailers are fulfilling this need through the creation of branded hotels, which offer young consumers distinctive experiences around the company’s products. 


West Elm recently announced that it would debut hotel properties in 2018, managed in partnership with hospitality group DKK. In entering this sector, the design-centric brand aims to bring unique character to the often sterile hotel experience and help guests feel connected to the nearby community. Aside from displaying its own décor, West Elm is partnering with independent makers in each hotel’s location in order to incorporate local design elements and make each property personal, building upon its successful Local program. It will also develop community programming, including communal dinners, maker events, and charity outreach and will make its lobby like a public living room


Footwear company Camper is best known for its funky yet functional shoes and innovative retail spaces, but lately, it’s garnering attention for its hospitality presence, too. Taking the brand’s eye for design outside the traditional storefront, Camper has built hotels in Barcelona and Berlin that evoke its ethos. They’re even designed by Fernando Amat, who created the company’s first store in Mallorca. While numerous fashion brands have brought their style to the hotel space, Camper stands out with its youthful, minimalist aesthetic; red walls and hammocks are among the most notable parts of the spaces.


In recent years, Restoration Hardware has added lifestyle spaces to several of its stores, allowing shoppers to get hands-on with its furniture and fixings. For instance, RH Chicago offers a café and wine tasting room, roof garden, and music venue so customers can experience products while they socialize. Now, the brand is going one step further in letting people “try before they buy”: it’s opening a boutique hotel in NYC’s Meatpacking District around the corner from its planned flagship store. The 14-room property will allow shoppers to spend the night using the brand’s offerings, while a RH-branded restaurant will be housed below.