Sep 2, 2021
What’s in a name?
A vignette is a sketch or a story that in a few brief strokes captures the unique characteristics of its subject. That is exactly what IHG’s new Vignette Collection hotels aim to do: deftly highlight their own distinctive personalities. Vignette is an eclectic collection with a difference, or as Keith Barr, CEO of IHG Hotels and Resorts puts it, “Each hotel is as unique as the next.”
Hotel branding is a tricky business that is all about striking exactly the right chord with guests so they feel they belong. IHG already encompassed 16 brands totaling some 6,000 hotels around the world, meaning they can micro-target travelers with different styles and budgets.
Among their luxury brands category, which now includes Vignette Collection hotels, InterContinental signals to guests that they can expect quality and comfort even before they set foot in the door. The Six Senses name is synonymous with wellness and mindful luxury. Kimpton exudes laidback urban chic. Regent is in the middle of a rebranding towards an “Aman-meets-Ritz” style that aims to see it emerge as a darling of HNW tastemakers.
Hotels for sophisticated travelers thinking outside the box
Vignette, IHG’s 17th global brand, is trying to capture the new vibe of today’s independent traveler, by building what you could call an affiliated society of independent hotels. The best boutique hotels appeal to our love of storytelling, adventure and unique experiences. Vignette Collection hotels are gunning for this type of free-thinking guests who might be wary of the conformities of a chain, but still want the level of service and comfort an international big name can guarantee.
If this sounds familiar, that’s because other hospitality companies also have been developing their rapport with open-minded, high-end travelers with a taste for one-of-a-kind experiences. Each hotel in Marriott’s Luxury Collection “is a living cultural expression of the destinations” where they are located. The Unbound Collection by Hyatt calls itself a group “of thoughtful stories that are designed to be discovered and cherished.” Accor’s MGallery is a “storied collection of hotels.” Another Marriott brand, Autograph Collection hotels have a “clear vision, soul and story” and “a sense of place.”
You will not see any busloads of tourists on whistle stops at Vignette Collection hotels, IHG says. Rather, Vignette is for guests whose journeys are as much about love of travel, curiosity and learning from the communities they are in as they are about traveling with purpose and making a positive impact wherever they go.
And where they go isn’t limited to particular types of destinations. The Vignette Collection will include downtown hotels, beach resorts and country getaways. On its path to world domination, or at least to conquering the hearts of travelers seeking something aspirational, ’grammable, and thoughtful all at the same time, IHG expects to attract more than 100 Vignette Collection hotels in 10 years, according to Rajit Sukumaran, managing director of IHG in Southeast Asia and Korea.
The first two Vignette Collection hotels
The very first Vignette hotel, Hotel X, a five-star hotel, dining and lifestyle destination in the middle of artsy Fortitude Valley, known locally simply as The Valley, in Brisbane, Australia, opened earlier this year. Hotel X embodies the spirit of a Brisbane neighborhood known for its sophistication and grunge in equal measures through features like its trendy art works and the brand-new Iris Rooftop Bar, which boasts killer views over the neighborhood and the city.
Courtesy of Hotel X, Brisbane, Australia (3)
The second hotel to sign on and the first Vignette property in Asia will be located in the Thai beach resort town of Pattaya, a two hours southeast of Bangkok. Set to open in 2024, the Vignette Collection hotel Pattaya Aquatique is located in the heart of Pattaya’s Aquatique lifestyle and entertainment complex that consists of hotels, shops and restaurants and meeting spaces.
The hotel itself will include 234 guest rooms, restaurants, a rooftop bar, swimming pool, spa and function rooms. “The Aquatique will appeal to all travelers seeking inspirational and exceptional experiences,” promises Wallapa Traisorat, CEO and President of Asset World Corporation, the Thai integrated lifestyle real-estate group that’s also bringing the first Nobu restaurant in Thailand to Bangkok this year, with Nobu hotels in the country to follow.