No check-out: The future of hotels?

If you could change anything about the hotel experience, what would it be? Not checking out at all, maybe? Yes. 

Some people love their hotel room so much, that they simply refuse to leave it. Luckily now, it’s also become socially acceptable in some cases. We are seeing more and more local hotels offering 'permanent' stays, allowing you to live that 24/7 hotel life.  

READ: Cape Town's chic new hotel, the Onyx, has just opened and this is what we think of it 

Cape Town's Foreshore-based luxe hotel, The Onyx has rented apartments within its 5-star hotel. We asked Herman Eloff, currently renting an apartment in the hotel, to share what attracted him to this type of stay: 

“With my office being in the heart of the business district in Cape Town, I simply couldn’t decline the opportunity to live walking distance from work. The apartment is situated in-between the suites of a chic new hotel and comes with all the expected comforts. That includes access to the pool, gym, spa, two restaurants, and a bar. Although the apartment is fitted with a kitchenette, access to room service - including cleaning services - is available for use. The hotel, which is fitted with security cameras, also has multiple security guards on duty 24/7 and visitors can only gain entrance to the various floors with an access card. There’s always staff on duty and the hotel is kept in tip-top condition. Going home feels a little bit like going on holiday at the end of every day."

At this year's Indaba 2019 in Durban, we heard that hotel group, The Capital now also has hundreds of studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments and even three bedroom penthouses available to you for rent in its hotels throughout the country, including Rosebank, De Waterkant and Umhlanga. 

But what does this say about the future of hotel norms?  

Are we moving to a full-board, catered, everyday existence? In terms of hotel apartments, you would rent it as you would a normal apartment in the city, yet the features available to you would be that of a luxury hotel. 

Lazy to pop down for milk for your coffee or not in the mood to cook? Call the hotel’s 24/7 room service. You can even get a snack at 3am! Then also consider this: an in-house laundry service, security, safe parking, a gym, a spa, access to a pool, good wi-fi, some facilities even have a doctor or dentist on site. 

Quite an upgrade from normal apartment living, I'd say. 

But the hotel experience is constantly evolving everywhere. Eco-friendly, self-sustaining hotels, like Hotel Verde offers a 100% carbon-neutral stay, while  urban-cool interactive stays like the Radisson Red hotel in the V&A Waterfront’s Silo District is normalising features like multi-functional furniture and ordering food, extra pillows, you name it, with an app. 

READ: From plastic-free airplanes to micro-hotels and chatbots: 6 travel innovations of note 

Last year, the Hilton hotel group launched a ‘travel with purpose’ objective and vision, which they call The Hilton Big Five, e.g. they have removed single-use plastics from their daily operations.

And many hotels now offer personalised services for guests such as tailor-made packages for each individual’s needs, like stocking the mini bar with their favourite gin or placing a photo frame displaying a picture of a business traveller’s family next to their bed (I must say, I find this creepy).

A lot of these features are gimmicks to attract, say, a millennial audience, a frequent business traveller or families, but hotels are changing because their customers demand it  - hence why they are becoming more sustainable, interactive and tech-driven, and offering 24/7 stays. 

Ultimately, this is an indication that people are, now more than ever, embracing a mobile, nomadic and full-board lifestyle, where you can make a hotel your home, or where home is created on the go.

*Africa's Travel and Tourism Indaba took place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban from 2 - 4 May. As Africa's leading trade show, it sees some 7 000 delegates attending from 80 different countries. 

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