How 6 Brands Are Winning Millennial Hearts & Minds

While it’s probably safe to say that every generation has left its own room-service-stained fingerprints on hotel design, those who’ve come of traveling age in the twenty-first century have literally taken a wrecking ball to the place.

Hoteliers first caught wind of the millennial spirit when digital technology grew from a luxury to an absolute, deal-breaker necessity. The more these young travelers congregated in their lobbies, the quicker the major brands recognized an inconvenient truth: the traditional hotel infrastructure was proving an awkward fit for this plugged-in, work/play-hanging, Uber-riding generation.

Suddenly, lobbies and lounges were too small and impersonal, guest rooms were too large and nonfunctional, check-in was laboriously human and hotel services were still afoot rather than in hand. What’s more, a hotel stay seemed boringly generic, lacking in the local flavors and colors that young travelers crave.

Where is a young traveler to find a home like their home on the road, with both local community and adventure at their fingertips? Here are six forward-leaning new hotel brands that strive to do just that.

Moxy Hotels
U.S. locations: New York/Times Square, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans and Tempe. Coming soon: Memphis, Richmond, Denver.

This reasonably priced industrial boutique from Marriott debuted with cheeky bon homme three years ago in Milan. In place of lobbies, Moxy offers “living rooms” with plug-in zones and games like Cards Against Humanity and Jenga, full-service bars and an #atthemoxy hashtag where guests can post their photos to Instagram. Moxy’s unofficial slogan? “Just like home, but with a bartender.”

Room Mate
Locations: New York/Times Square and Miami Beach (2), plus 19 international.

Eye-catching may be the best term to describe this Madrid-based youth hotel, which shakes its guest rooms and hallways alive with loud urban designs. Add a heated pool, gym, sauna and pool bar, throw in a free breakfast and late check-out, and this Room Mate ranks high for repeat stays.

Tru by Hilton
Locations: opening soon in McDonough, Ga., Oklahoma City, Cheyenne, Lancaster, Pa. and Murfreesboro, Tn.; 102 signed contracts to follow throughout U.S. and Canada.

From its striking exterior and 2,800-square-foot game-like anti-lobby (dubbed “The Hive”) to its reimagined front desk (aka “Command Center”), Hilton’s new midscale brand promises to be a North American game-changer. In addition to its modest but multifunctional guest rooms, Tru amenities include a Play Zone with table games, a fitness center and a 24/7 retail market with single-serve beer and wine.

25hours Hotels
Locations: Berlin, Hamburg (3), Frankfurt (2), Vienna, Zurich (2).

These hostel-inspired, ultra-trendy hotels pride themselves not only in infusing the guest experience with local flavor, but doing so with panache. Where else but at the Hotel Bikini Berlin are you going to find your own private hammock, a rooftop rendezvous overlooking the Berlin Zoo and a Mini Cooper for rent? Why settle for a stay in Europe when you can live Europe at 25hours?

Hyatt Centric
Locations: (U.S.) California (3), Florida (2), Hawaii, Illinois (2), Louisiana, New York, Texas, Utah and Virginia. International: Montevideo, Uruguay.

Warm and welcoming upscale décor with a midcentury vibe distinguishes Hyatt’s classy new boutique brand. Prime locations and local flavor make Centric the center for young travelers looking to combine the communal experience of home with the comforts and personalized service of high-end lodging.

Radisson RED
Locations: (U.S.) Minneapolis; (International) Brussels, Krakow.

Although technology reigns at the first of 60 planned art hotels from Carlson Rezidor Group, there’s absolutely nothing geeky about the eyepopping, thoroughly modern trappings of Radisson RED. Designed to combine local hospitality with the art, music and fashion of the young global traveler, these ultrahip cribs feature a OUIBar + KTCHN, RED fitness center, events and games studio and outdoor patio. Look for the bold graphics of the guest rooms alone to gain their own online following.

Photo credits: Courtesy of Room Mate (Valeria), Room Mate Lord Balfour, and Moxy New Orleans.




Jay MacDonald

Jay MacDonald

Jay MacDonald is an award-winning journalist, author and blogger who incorporates humor and human interest into a broad range of topics. Follow him on Twitter @omnisaurus

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