As society begins to reopen, Americans will again have the need to stay in hotels for business and vacation purposes. Regardless of the reason for travel, hotel guests have higher expectations than ever before. One factor driving the trend for a home-away-from-home experience is the rise of share companies like Airbnb. According to The Economist, more than 500 million bookings have been made through Airbnb since its inception in 2009, which now boasts 7 million properties (including 4,900 castles and 2,400 tree-houses) in more than 100,000 cities. As a result, customers now expect the same luxuries they could find in an upscale New York penthouse—like a heated towel rack—anywhere they stay.
To meet the needs of clientele, many hotels have performed renovations. These renovations are indicative of a trend in hospitality and what average guests expect from their hotels in terms of design. Andrew Linwood, the Head of Design of Areen Hospitality, predicted to traveldailynews.com hotel design would move toward more relaxed, residential-style spaces in mainstream hotel design in the economy and mid-scale markets.
Founded in 1984, The Hampton Inn has been a mainstay for travelers of all types seeking a budget and guest-friendly experience. As part of the national hotel chain’s initiative to renovate all of its locations, the hotel started updating in early 2019 and finished with a beautiful bathroom redesign packed with modern amenities like a Bluetooth mirror and a high-tech toilet. Unique to the Travelers Rest location in South Carolina. The hotel was the first out of 3,000 Hampton Inns renovating to install heated towel racks in the bathroom, said David Jagirdar, former owner of the Hampton Inn Travelers Rest.
“There were many reasons to install heated towel racks,” said Jagirdar, “Guests can enjoy toasty towels, which improves customer satisfaction, and helps to reduce mold and mildew in the bathrooms, the heated rack dries towels. Thus, less laundering is required, so less water is used.”
The decision to install the heated towel racks has paid off in customer satisfaction. Post-remodel guest-reviews have praised the bathroom for the toilet, bidet, and Bluetooth mirror that has the ability to play music. One online review went on to say the heated towel rack was wonderful at keeping the bathroom toasty and was “…great to dry your stuff when coming from the pool…” Hotel manager Adam Roth stated, “Though guests are attracted by our exceptional service, they definitely take note of our renovated rooms. If anyone sees something brand new in a room, they like it.” The benefit to the ecosystem is also noteworthy, as explained by Jagirdar “Asking guests to dry their towels on heated racks and skip laundry service helps save the environment in reducing chemical, water, gas, and electric consumption.”
A few hours west of Travelers Rest is Old Edwards Inn and Spa located in the historic village of Highlands, North Carolina. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, Old Edwards exudes charm and luxury. Offering personalized service in an old-world setting, discerning guests know Old Edwards as an escape where they can rejuvenate and luxuriate while creating memories that will last a lifetime.
The Inn is no stranger to renovations; the property is continually updated to maintain its well-earned reputation of a top-tier vacation destination. The upgrades have reinforced the tradition of European old-world design, including exposed wood beams and stone, promoting a sense of being built over time.
The guest bathrooms also enjoyed a makeover. Each design element in the bathrooms was closely considered and painstakingly curated toward the end goal of provoking a luxurious feeling while providing sustainability. The bathtubs were selected for optimal comfort, while the showers offered a sense of stylish decadence. Heated floors increased the level of coziness while also serving to keep the rooms warm. The final touch to the bathroom renovations was an Amba heated towel rack. Heated towel racks or towel warmers have commonplace in Europe for decades and were a perfect fit for the old-world charm the Inn wanted to evoke.
Like the Hampton Inn, guests at Old Edward Inn were impressed with the new bathrooms’ style and comfort. But the environment was also a beneficiary. Heated towel racks, like Amba’s, are made of 304-grade stainless steel, which is 100 percent recyclable and only uses as much electricity as a few light bulbs. The racks are a perfect accompaniment to towel reuse programs that most hotels practice, as the heated racks dry the towels, thus do not need to be laundered as often. Less laundry not only conserves water but also saves on labor costs.
As evidenced by the Hampton Inn Traveler Rest and Old Edwards Inn and Spa, sustainable practices merge perfectly with luxury and comfort.