Furniture Retailer West Elm to Launch Boutique Hotel Chain
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Furniture retailer West Elm is taking a unique approach to expansion, opting to launch a boutique hotel chain West Elm HOTELS.
The Brooklyn, New York-based company will design, furnish and market the hotels, while hospitality management and development company DDK will operate them, the Williams-Sonoma subsidiary announced Monday.
By furnishing the hotels with it's own products, West Elm will be able to showcase its popular furniture, artwork and decor to more potential customers. Guests who want to purchase the furnishings will be able to do so through an app they can download upon check in or by visiting West Elm’s website.
"Where many retail brands have put the nail in their coffins is by opening too many stores," West Elm president Jim Brett told the Wall Street Journal.
With many of today's travelers seeking a unique stay that connects them with the local culture, demand for boutique hotels is on the rise.
"There is a growing desire among modern travelers to immerse themselves in the place they are visiting. They want a boutique experience, and expect great, reliable service that caters to their needs," said David Bowd, co-founder of DDK, in a statement. "Our general managers will serve as innkeepers, and West Elm HOTELS will focus on making real community connections for visitors and residents alike."
READ MORE: The Advantages of a Boutique Hotel
West Elm plans to give each of its hotels its own identity by custom designing furnishings for each property and featuring local artwork."Managers can buy from our designs depending on what is right for their local customers," Brett told the Journal. "They can display the merchandise as they like, and we give them money to buy goods from local craftsman."
West Elm HOTELS have already been planned for locations including Detroit, Savannah, Georgia, Charlotte, North Carolina, Indianapolis and Minneapolis. The properties will feature anywhere from 100 to 250 guestrooms and rates will start around $175 per night.
The first hotel is slated to open sometime in late 2018.
West Elm currently operates more than 90 retail stores across the U.S., Canada, Australia and U.K. Brett told the Journal that the company could eventually boast just as many hotels.
"By adapting the framework design of each hotel to reflect the mood and identity of its host city, we will continue to engage the adventurous spirit of our customers as they follow us to our next level of hospitality," Brett said in a statement accompanying Monday's announcement.
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