Now that tourism in the United States is bouncing back, luxury hotels are eager to partner with local businesses to give them a boost, too. Building on the farm-to-table trend on hotel restaurant menus and in guest-room minibars, you can now experience regional culture in even more ways. This might mean slipping into your very own locally designed bathrobe, or getting ready each morning with a cult-favorite brand of grooming products. Through these complimentary luxury hotel amenities, your time in the destination becomes even richer.
“By supporting small businesses, we support our friends and neighbors,” says Jonathan Morris, co-owner of Hotel Dryce in Fort Worth, Texas. “We can take control and play a genuine part in the economic development of our communities when we support our local businesses.”
There are two other cool reasons these partnerships are innovative. If you have limited time in a destination, these products offer a wider glimpse into what makes a town or city tick. In some cases, it’s a small business or brand just getting its feet wet in the market, and as a guest, you’ll be among the first to try it out.
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Hotel Dryce in Fort Worth, Texas
Because of his entrepreneurial roots, Morris had no question his hotel would support other independent businesses. He opened the 21-room Hotel Dryce in 2021. While the Lobby Bar hosts pop-ups by Dallas-area BIPOC artists, and there’s Cherry Coffee Shop’s coffee or Leaves Book and Tea Shop’s tea, Morris took it one step further.
Back in the room, guests can cozy up in a stylish burnt-orange robe by Morgan Mercantile, a Fort Worth apparel company exclusive to the hotel.
“Using local products fits into our role as storytellers,” Morris says. “The most impactful way that we can tell the story of who we are is through the people, places and products that shape our lives day-in and day-out as Fort Worthians.”
French Quarter Inn in Charleston, South Carolina
This 50-room hotel isn’t new to sourcing from within Charleston — although the number of partnerships has certainly grown over time. The latest additions are Deep Steep bath products and a custom-scented pillow mist and candles by Palmetto Scent Studio.
“Since we opened the hotel 20 years ago, we’ve partnered with local businesses to offer a comfortable ‘home away from home,’” says Carlo Carroccia, the hotel’s general manager. “Small businesses are integral to the fabric of the community, embodying (Charleston’s) vibrant character and charm.”
The Shay Hotel in Culver City, California
Inside this new 148-room hotel is a fine-art collection with community roots, curated by Venice Beach’s Studio Collective and Lendrum Fine Art in Los Angeles. This collection contains works by artists such as the painter Kenny Scharf. Finer-life amenities also extend to the guestrooms. Get ready for a night out on the town with LA’s Imperial Barber Products’ toiletries, accented by eucalyptus sage and watermelon cucumber aromas.
Exclusive to the hotel is another in-room amenity: a custom-label Los Angeles Ale Works IPA in the mini-bar, with a hotel illustration and neighborhood art by artist Kasey Blaustein. And guests are treated to Brazilian sweets by Maya’s Brigadeiro which are also decorated in Blaustein’s art.
“Our mission is to highlight ‘creative camaraderie’ and bring Culver City’s collaborative community to life for our guests to experience it first-hand,” says Ryan Parker, general manager. “Beyond our amenities, we encourage our guests to explore the hotel’s surroundings and support the local businesses that make Culver City so special.”
The Study at University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois
A free little library or a lending library at a hotel isn’t necessarily new, but at each Study Hotel is a library specific to its academic surroundings.
At The Study at the University of Chicago, this means classics and coffee-table books to books by the University of Chicago professors and alumni. This is a partnership with Seminary Co-op and available for guests to use during their stay.
“Our goal is to become an integral part of the school and local community for the long-term, by embracing the character and personality of the location. Not only do we support businesses and purveyors, we create partnerships with institutions, museums, galleries, and not-for-profit organizations,” says Paul McGowan, founder and president of Study Hotels.
Deer Path Inn in Lake Forest, Illinois
Top-tier suites at the 55-room, English-style Deer Path Inn in a North Shore suburb of Chicago feature a full bar and “snack pantry,” with wines, spirits, mixers and snacks. What makes this bar different is everything is on the house — and it is not filled with run-of-the-mill spirits. For instance, you can sip dry gin and whiskey from a nearby distillery.
“Since 1929, Deer Path Inn has served as a gathering place for our community and Chicagoans looking for an escape,” says Patrick Lacassagne, innkeeper. “We’ve married our English-inspired inn-keeping traditions with our commitment to supporting local businesses through our minibars, which feature a mix of English and European snacks along with dry gin and whiskey from nearby KOVAL Distillery.”
The Foundry Hotel in Asheville, North Carolina
This in-room welcome amenity from Asheville Tea Company features two tea tins with a sleepy-time tea blend (folding in locally sourced chamomile), a tea infuser, a teacup made by an artist in the community, and a jar of Asheville honey. Now there’s no excuse for not getting a good night’s sleep.
HarbourView Inn in Charleston, South Carolina
At HarbourView Inn’s Wine & Cheese Hour, it isn’t English cheddar served. Instead, the hotel uses South Carolina cheeses from Goat Sheep Cow (a Charleston cheese shop) paired with complimentary glasses of wine and fresh vegetables, olives, and charcuterie.
But that’s not all, at turndown, hand-crafted chocolates from Christophe Paume, another Charleston-based food-artisan company, end the night on a lovely sweet note.