Thanks to millennials who now prioritise experiences over physical products, the “experience economy” is booming. Camera phones, social media and apps are the new currency. While the older generation may prefer to stick to what’s familiar, the young’uns are eager to seek new and unique experiences. Autograph Collection is a brand that understands this trend. You won’t find generic terms like “ultimate luxury” or “home away from home” plastered on their hotels’ surface. Instead, you’ve probably come across pictures of rooftop pools and spiral stairs with centre art pieces on Instagram with hashtags like #blessed, #wanderlust and #traveladdict.
That’s not to say Autograph Collection’s properties do not offer luxury or the cosiness of a home; they do, but in their own way. After all, no one hotel is the same as the other under the brand’s 170 portfolios across 30 countries. Each hotel is handpicked for their craft and own perspective on design and hospitality that defies the idea of “one-size-fits-all”.
RYSE AND SHINE IN SEOUL
This one-year-old hotel located in the hip neighbourhood of Hongdae is the epitome of cool. There’s a magnitude of local and regional art works displayed in every room and public space, and even a subterranean art gallery that plays host to some exciting exhibitions. At the expansive lobby, you’ll find San Francisco’s famed bakery Tartine. Upstairs, next to the check-in lounge, there’s a library with indie zines and a curated selection of books from all around the world. If there’s one thing that RYSE does exceptionally well, it is their collaborations. A multi-label streetwear store is directly linked to the hotel. Plus, there’s even an in-house “sneakers concierge” that can hunt down any pair of sneakers for you, including the rarest ones on your list. They’ve also partnered with a local craft beer company to design their own labels for the beers provided for guests at checkin; bathrobes are designed by Korean fashion brand IISE; they’ve their own Korean face mask too (which works pretty well after a long flight). Each of its five Artist Suites is designed by a different artist with a different style. Our favorite is Yeojoo Park’s multi-colour take called “Twilight Zone” that offers a refreshing perspective of the city of Seoul, much like the hotel itself.
GO LOCO IN KUALA LUMPUR
Hotel Stripes’ location might be right in the heart of KL’s city centre, but there’s a strong sense of local community in this neighbourhood. Nearby, you will find an old school tailor who has been running a business for five decades; a famous Hainanese eatery that has been around since 1928; an art/event space and a handful of cafОs, indie cocktail bars and local clubs. Plus, the neighbourhood is experiencing a sort of culinary rebirth with exciting new restaurants springing up. It’s an area with the perfect blend of old and new, of heritage and culture; this section of the city is no tourist trap. Inside the hotel, you’ll find modern amenities, comfy rooms and a spectacular rooftop bar and pool to boost.
SYDNEY’S HARBOUR LIFE
There’s nothing quite as iconic as the Sydney Harbour. It’s quintessentially Australian with big-name attractions like the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Here, you get to soak up the city’s sights from the water. Sitting within a heritage listed building, Pier One was originality built over 100 years ago as a working cargo wharf and passenger transit point. In 1999, it had a facelift and became the Pier One Sydney Harbour hotel. Inside, the hotel stays true to its heritage by combining its industrial roots with light, coastal décor and rustic furnishings. Naturally, our money is on the Harbour View suites. There are even dog-friendly rooms and you can opt for rooms with a minibar loaded with dog-friendly snacks (cute!). When it comes to food, nothing says Aussie more than barbecue. Head on to the hotel’s newest smokin’ hot food shack, The Kerrigan, for some charcoal-burning goodness and take in all that harbour life. Come to the hotel, stay for the views.