Renaissance Puts 'Lifestyle' Into Luxury.
By Melanie Nayer ~ Exclusive Column
Wednesday, 11th May 2011
It's not uncommon to encounter two of the same hotel brands in one city; in New York City, for example, you'll find half a dozen Marriott's and an endless display of Starwood Hotel & Resort brands, including W Hotels and St Regis, within 10 city blocks.

In Shanghai and Beijing, the Ritz-Carlton has two hotels within a few miles of each other in both cities. What's is interesting, however, is how the hotel's differentiate each hotel, even though they are the same brand and in the same city.

Simply put: Just because you recognize the hotel name doesn't mean each hotel is the same.

The brand differentiation among hotels within the same family is commonplace. Marriott, for example, offers everything from a resort brand (JW Marriott) to a budget hotel (Courtyard by Marriott).

What's nice about the brand recognition is that regular customers come to know what to expect, which builds brand loyalty. But what's even nicer is when the individual brands spice things up, offering something unique at each property under that specific brand name.

On a recent trip to Paris, I had the pleasure of staying at two different Renaissance by Marriott hotels. The hotels offered all the same offerings one would expect from a Marriott -- WiFi in rooms, bath amenities, mini bar and coffee machines -- but it was the design and ambiance of the hotels that made an impact.

The Renaissance concept is to re-introduce "life" back into "style". Instead of packing yourself into a suitcase and dropping bags in your hotel room, Renaissance has introduced various lifestyle aspects, including their latest RLife where musicians and celebrities make special appearances at the hotels, to help engage guests in the concept of the hotel as a destination.

In Paris, I visited two Renaissance hotels - both within 3 miles of each other and both with varying concepts and designs. This is a tale of two hotels; both the same brand, both with very different consumer approaches.

Renaissance Paris Le Parc Trocadero:

The 122-room hotel re-opened in March of this year with a brand new concept: wrap the authenticity of Paris into a modern decor.

The small hotel is within walking distance from the Eiffel Tower, but it's the hotel's quaint charm that will keep guests hanging around the hotel a little longer than they expect.

The hotel was redesigned by architect-designer Jean-Philippe Nuel set out to embrace the bold lines of contemporary Paris, while keeping with the traditional romance of Paris life.

The most obvious display is with the new headboards in each room, which feature a likely Parisian theme in soothing black, white and grey tones, accented by bold green and brown furniture. However, it's the outdoor garden that makes this hotel special.

One of the best things about Paris is its secret hideaways and coveted gardens, and the hotel did a magnificent job of keeping the ambiance of a private Paris garden while undergoing a more modern renovation.

Renaissance Paris Vendome:

This trendy 97-room hotel takes its fashionista cue from the neighborhood in which it resides. Only a few short miles from the Le Parc Trocadero, the Renaissance Vendome is steps from designer stores including Paris favorites Dior and Chloe, which gives this small boutique its trendy edge.

Upon entering, you're hit with the groovy sounds of house music and pop, which makes this boutique hotel a little more cutting edge than its nearby neighbor. The rooms are decorated in soothing brown and gold hues, but it's the hotel's lobby bar that really sets a scene.

Bar Chinois takes its cue from Chinese inspiration, complete with Asian antiques and a setting that transports you to 19th century Shanghai. Across the street from the hotel are the famous Tuileries gardens, where on any given day you'll find Parisians mingled with tourists all gathered around the fountains sipping wine and enjoying a peaceful moment.

The bottom line: hotel brands can differentiate, no matter how many hotels they have in the same city.

The purpose is to give guests the option that best suits their lifestyle choices, and make them feel at home as soon as they enter the front doors.

Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.

Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com
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