Picture this: you’re staying in the cutest boutique hotel / coolest loft apartment / most avant guard room (delete as appropriate) of your life, getting all kinds of epic inspo from the carefully curated room design. You dial 0 for reception and enquire about the origins before getting royally fobbed off with with new starter’s vague knowledge that the piece was picked up “by the founder on their travels to the Indian OutBack on a motivational hike”. She also politely informs you that your on-file credit card will be maxed out should anything go missing before red flagging your profile as a theft potential with housekeeping.
But that was 2018. This is 2019, and the latest launch in explorative travel has given freedom back to us the curious travellers with “shop the neighbourhood”. The concept has come over from NYC thanks to Indgio Hotels, who launched the empowering concept earlier this month.
If you’ve not stayed at an Indigo Hotel Group (IHG) before, they’re a brand pushing the boundaries in luxury travel by turning each property into a cultural hub and authentic summary of local neighbourhoods. Rooms and public spaces are like mini museums, and now two are the same. So in my room I had a set of three original NYC skateboards on my wall, whilst Sophie had a dramatic take on Warhole’s pop art, imagined by Martha Cooper. And the lobby had one of those life-size ceramic cows you see dotted around the city (this one was designed by Mr. Brainwash), plus a ceiling festooned with an eclectic mural by Lee Quinones, to pay homage to the NYC’s street art DNA trend that transcended in the 70s and 80s. Lee is one of the most influential artists to emerge from the New York City subway art movement of the early 70s (note: to tie it all together, the hotel entrance is decked out like a subway platform, which is just such a pleasing detail), using his neighbourhood as his canvas.
By championing local (and often previously unknown) artists and trends, IHG offers a unique insight into what local living is like, affording travellers the opportunity to take a unique slice of Venice / Brooklyn / wherever with them). I know all this because I visited Hotel Indigo NYC (the one on the lower east side, although I visited the soon-to-open Williamsburg, Brooklyn one, too) last week. To showcase the smorgasbord of cultural influence throughout the IHG, we were invited to explore the penthouse suite, which had been decorated with snapshots of the hotel’s most iconic destinations. So there were plates from Venice, hats from artisan designers in Mexico, replica kit cars from Berlin, and fabrics from Dundee. The hotels have been designed with the time-poor traveller in mind – if you only have 48hrs in a city, you’re going to get the sights, sounds and smells (and often history – the downtown LA property is reminiscent of Old Hollywood and the prohibition era of the 1930s) of local culture as soon as you walk through the door.
Oh, and how cute are the vintage-inspired wireless radios? They’re designed in Bangkok.
The joys of the shop-able hotel room is that you can get all these cultural references for your own home without having to do the actual travelling bit, thanks to a carefully curated global website. As a newly-accredited first time flat buyer (yuuuussss), I can’t tell you how rare it is to find such a broad range of decorative options in one place. Try the site for yourself here.
P.s. – I’m going to do another post with more general pics from the hotel but in the meantime, here’s a wee snapshot of what we got up to.