Hotels rethink in-room shopping and amenities

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Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

While some upscale and luxury hotels have been doing away with minibars in recent years, others are coming up with interesting twists on in-room amenities and shopping.

The latest comes from Virgin Hotels: When it opened its first property in Chicago it vowed to not only have minibars, but ones stocked with street-priced snacks to suit each guests preferences, based on their profiles

Now Virgin is also offering clothing for guests through a venture with the Gap.

Under the partnership, guests at Virgin’s Chicago hotel can have items from the Gap delivered to their room, try them on and buy them. It’s part of a new program the Gap is launching to let customers reserve purchases for in-store pickup.

Through the Virgin Hotels partnership, the process takes on a new twist. Guests access gap.com via Lucy, the hotel’s mobile app, or by visiting virginhotels.com and then selecting the styles through the "Reserve in Store" button. The hotel takes it from there, and within a few hours the guests find their selections in their closet.

"Virgin Hotels aims to bring innovation and change to the hotel industry, all while enhancing and easing the guest’s stay," said Doug Carrillo, vice president of sales and marketing for Virgin Hotels. “Having your trip’s wardrobe delivered straight to your chamber, all by clicking a button, is a service we know our guests will love."

The announcement comes as hotels increasingly look for ways to make life easier for travelers who prefer to carry-on instead of check.

The Gansevoort in New York's Meatpacking District, for example, recently introduced a “glamour bar,” an in-room minibar of premium makeup and hair styling products for purchase. So whether guests have forgotten a key toiletry or just couldn’t fit it in their carry-on’s quart-sized baggy, there are options to restock a product (or try something new).

At the Hyatt Union Square in New York guests can borrow rather than buy accessories they might need for a special evening out, like watches, designer belts, earrings and scarves.

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