The relentless movement toward experiential travel seems about to reach a new milestone. A group called Hemingway Hotels & Resorts will soon announce the development of its first hotels. Building on a long-term partnership with Ernest Hemingway’s estate, the brand foresees a Hemingway-like experience with the focus on nature, references to locations in Hemingway’s work and libraries featuring the writer’s works (among others). Even the staff will reflect Hemingway in “a passion for life, unwavering integrity and respect for the natural world.”
Talk about a brand promise! It’s one thing to flag a generic name like Four Seasons or Peninsula – quite another to deliver on something as specific and sense-driven as the Hemingway name. It’s not the first time a well-known name has been flagged on a hotel. Consider the designer-influenced Armani, and Baccarat, among others.
But design is now part of the package at any new hotel in almost any price category. Moving beyond that to memorable experiences is the next plateau. Here’s how Hemingway’s leaders describe its mission: “Ernest Hemingway’s greatest pleasure in life was the crafting of the ‘one perfect sentence.’ He would then ‘refill the well’ by spending the rest of the day as a ‘man of action.’ Hemingway was the ultimate sportsman. He loved deep-sea fishing, hunting, nature and the active physical life. But he was also just as at home at day’s end with friends, enjoying the perfect martini in Paris, daiquiri in Havana or a Bellini in Venice, along with fine cuisine. Hemingway was always seeking the essence and fullness of each of life’s experiences, about which he would then write so beautifully. It is these experiences and lifestyle that Hemingway Hotels will deliver to our guests.”
Sounds pretty good. Of course, there will be African properties with safaris as a centerpiece; and there will be properties built around trout fishing. But there will also be beach properties and casinos.
Say what you will about this concept. The name alone will set this group apart – and if they deliver, they have a good shot at finding a niche well beyond Hemingway lovers.
And, if they do succeed, consider the possibilities. Will there be Jane Austen hotels with, perhaps, a matchmaker on property; or John Grisham Hotels with mock trials as part of the entertainment? And, beyond writers, why not hotels named for actors, dancers and other creative types — bringing to mind a world of creativity.
The demographics seem to be in the favor of the Hemingway hotels – with cultural and adventure travel soaring as the fastest-growing segments in the industry. It wasn’t long ago that a Heavenly Bed revolutionized hospitality. Now travelers are looking to the bed as just a place to rest up before they move on to their next adventure.
Hemingway. You loved the books. Will you love the hotel?