Gone are the days of “one size fits all” hotels. From paintings by local artists adorning walls to local craft brews on tap at the bar, to common-area decor showcasing local recycled materials, to customizable wellness and fitness options in guest rooms, hotels are competing to offer unique experiences and a distinctive sense of place.
Consider, for instance, a program recently launched by Loews Hotels. Called Flavor by Loews Hotels, gastronomic start-ups are teaming up with the Loews brand to put their locally loved products on menus in all 24 of the company’s hotels this year.
For meetings attendees with little time to venture outside the hotel, it means they can experience local flavors such as Little G’s Ice Cream, handmade deliciousness created by teenage owner/founder Grace Conner. She started making ice cream at age 8, inspired by a favorite ice cream parlour on Nantucket, Massachusetts. In January 2016, she walked through a snowstorm to deliver her first batch for sale at a specialty grocer in Boston’s South End. It sold out in a week. Three of her flavors are on the menu at Precinct Kitchen and Bar at Loews Boston Hotel.
Another example: Loews Ventana Canyon Resort has partnered with Tucson Tamale Company to serve its decidedly local tamales, which have been touted by Alton Brown of the Food Network as best in the country. They are made with organic, non-GMO corn and Santa Cruz red chilis.
Or: In Nashville, guests can brighten their stay at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel with Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream liqueur. The artisan distillery of husband-and-wife team Jeff and Jenny Pennington taps grain from local farmers and gives back stillage (post-distilling leftovers) to feed their pigs.
“Flavor by Loews goes beyond the farm-to-table movement of highlighting native ingredients on restaurant menus,” says Mark Weiss, senior vice president of food and beverage. “We’re offering guests celebrated and locally known products from resident artisans right within the walls of our hotels. By partnering with the finest bakeries, smokehouses, distilleries, breweries, juice shops and more, our hotels are not only becoming a part of their local scene, but are also helping to nurture and support their hometown communities.”