There are more than half a million hotel suites in the world. Dorchester Collection asked Lindstrom Company to make Dorchester’s unique collection of suites stand out from the pack. Lindstrom hired a team of historians, who unearthed amazing insights into each of Dorchester Collection’s suites.
These historic, iconic insights were used to create a narrative for each suite, providing a unique, memorable guest journey.
There are genuine hotel suites — and then there are hotel ‘suites’, rooms passing themselves off as suites (around half a million worldwide). The definition and perception of the word ‘suite’ has been eroded, diluting the concept and challenging some of the most luxurious hotel operators in the field.
In 2018, Dorchester Collection, the world’s premium hotel chain — managing such iconic hotels as the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel, London’s Dorchester, the Hotel Bel-Air, and Paris’s Hotel Plaza Athenee —asked Lindstrom Company to take a closer look at the future of luxury guest experience. The end result is a remarkable rebranding of the finest suites in the world.
Embarking on this remarkable journey, the Dorchester Collection placed themselves in the shoes of their guests. The mission? To truly understand the mindset of a billionaire, an individual who has seen and done it all.
Providing amazing customer service isn’t the responsibility of just one function. If the front desk is amazing but room service is mediocre, the overall impression will be mediocre. This philosophy drove the guest research project. We invited all functions across the entire chain to participate in an unprecedented series of conversations, allowing us to acquire a sneak peak view into the lives of guests (with the guests’ permission, of course). In these interviews, we explored guests’ dreams, hopes, definition of luxury and glamour, and attention to detail.
The circumstances were unique. We replaced the usual formalities and obligatory distance with a casual, confidential conversation between staff and guests. In this process, we acquired profound insights that questioned the foundation for what tomorrow’s suite experience should be all about. The results were eye opening.
Forget about more square feet, flowers, chocolates, and technology. In fact, all the conventional rules by which most of the world’s luxury operators work seem to be more or less invalid. The answer was to be found elsewhere
If walls could talk.…
Hotels maintain guest records, of course, but they rarely capture the personal stories that make a difference and establish an emotional bookmark in the guest’s mind. This became evident as one team after another observed how the obligatory message from the general manager or that bouquet of flowers meant little, if anything at all, if it didn’t fit into the guest’s own narrative.
The teams discovered that guests are increasingly aspiring to the authenticity of the rooms. They want the feeling that this room is a one-of-a-kind, not replicated in the hundreds around the world. They want to sense the presence of a soul, a personal touch, and an unparalleled attention to detail.
Every one of the millions of guests who’ve occupied a Dorchester Collection suite in one of its properties, throughout the course of its 200-year history, has created a story. The ex-president of the United States’ favourite table at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel was number 10; this knowledge vanished when the waiter who served him retired. Or how about the doorman bringing a bottle of Cognac and two Cuban cigars, every day for 12 years, to the world’s favourite singer in Bungalow 12? Sadly, the doorman has since retired. As staff have moved on over the years, so have their stories. They’ve taken with them the chain’s most valuable, untapped asset.
Our mission was to recover those lost stories.
These stories couldn’t be found in textbooks, archives, or online. They had to be discovered by a team of historians. In the course of a yearlong mission, this team uncovered the memories that were hidden in the walls of each of the iconic suites.
Today when you check in to any of the suites in the Dorchester Collection, you’ll notice a remarkable difference. Every detail — from the sound of the doorbell (composed by one of the guests) to the selection of flowers, perfume, Cognac, and even the record player — has been curated by a legendary guest and dedicated to his or her favourite suite. The colours of the dressing room that match the dress of the Oscar winner on the night she checked into her suite … the song composed at that piano by the legendary band that later dominated the Billboard charts — these have been uncovered and incorporated into the narrative of each and every suite.
But the story doesn’t end there. Behind the scenes, each of the Dorchester Collection hotels has created a ‘video memory booth’, meant to encourage employees to share memories of their guests (with permission, of course, of the guest). All are saved in the Collection’s archive and waved into the fabric of the rooms and the hotel design.
Today, Dorchester Collection is more remarkable than ever. Thanks to the small data obtained and the employees’ tireless effort, the Collection has defined what tomorrow’s suite experience will be all about. More than flowers and chocolates, it’s about memories and very special moments.
Today, you’ll no longer check into a bland, soulless suite. Instead, you’ll find yourself in a suite linked to iconic guests, with hallmark attention to detail. Take Suite 176 at Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, for example. Suite 176 was Marilyn Monroe’s favourite suite, and when you check in, you’ll enter into a stunning narrative. You’ll find Monroe’s favourite champagne, her fragrance (Chanel No5, of course), the same plants she enjoyed in the garden (Valencia oranges, begonias, and Mexican lime trees), and even a signature sound when you press the doorbell.
Dorchester Collection – a suite story without doubt, but one designed to become a brand no competitor will ever be able, or willing, to copy.