'Generation travel' is spoilt for choice: Something to declare

There was a time when I might have been impressed by a hotel with in-room tea-making facilities, bog-standard toiletries and a concierge, but no longer.

My expectations about where I choose to sleep, eat and play have changed. And I'm not alone. I am a child of Generation Travel: affordable flights have made it easier to get to far-flung spots, while the rapid evolution of the internet means I have all the information I need to contemplate, compare and commit at a mouse's click. And, with new hotels opening up daily, I'm spoilt for choice in a way that even a decade ago – when I set off on a round-the-world trip with just a backpack for company – was unimaginable.

Meanwhile, product differentiation and market segmentation have become increasingly difficult to achieve, even among the savviest hoteliers. A great view and a welcome glass of champagne no longer suffice; hotel groups are scrambling for distinction, pitching schemes and programmes to obtain prime position, offering extravagant additions from personal chefs to Google Glass loans, complimentary gym clothing and even cosmetic fridges in some bathrooms (see the Jumeirah Emirates Towers' Chopard Ladies Rooms in Dubai).

Good hotel design and architecture are important to me, but getting the most out of an experience is my priority – with value for money coming a close second.

I have come to expect hotels to offer style and luxury at competitive rates. The shift from old-fashioned, passive customers to today's more demanding, creative class has changed the dynamics of the hotel industry – charging for Wi-Fi, or even the minibar, is becoming outdated. Undoubtedly, the profit margins of these frills are substantial, but the modern hotel is now restructuring its traditional business plan to accommodate such new expectations.

On a recent visit to Toronto, I stayed at The Ritz-Carlton hotel and upgraded to The Club, the hotel equivalent of a business-class lounge, with a dedicated concierge and a complimentary assortment of meals, snacks and drinks readily available throughout the day. A similar experience at the Rosewood London provides suite guests with an in-room maxi-bar, in which a series of own-label spirits, along with a host of treats, are on the house.

Hotel perks are not exclusive just to the expenses-paid business traveller: the Andaz group offers all its guests a complimentary minibar stocked with local products, while Niyama in the Maldives has popcorn, Ben & Jerry's ice cream and gin cocktails on tap. North Island in the Seychelles will whip up a sushi platter from the fresh fish you catch.

However, it was a simple, complimentary pillow scent at the Park Hyatt Vienna that made the biggest impression on me. Perhaps I'm not so demanding after all.

Lauren Ho is the travel editor of Wallpaper*

News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty before scoring the opening goal with a header at the back post
footballLive! Sanchez makes up for penalty miss to put Arsenal ahead
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Day In a Page

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all