Smells Like Vacation
Signature scents from high-end hotels can help you extend your trip even when you return home.
Smell is our most powerful sense, in terms of emotion and memory, and according to Ed Burke, Vice President of Customer Strategy at sensory branding firm ScentAir, it’s a sense hotels can leverage to cultivate happier, better feelings. “When a hotel adds a pleasant, contextual scent then we, as guests, will have a deeper, more emotionally involved and engaging experience," he says. "Whether we associate the distinct aroma with that hotel or not, we will still have an overall more positive experience in that environment.”
The feeling of being welcome, for example, can be coaxed by a hotel’s use of “recognizable notes,” says Burke, “like citrus varieties, vanilla bean, and subtle, recognizable floral accords.” A scent may even influence your impressions of the hotel, by doing something as simple as “adding a light, crisp grapefruit note to help create ‘pop’ in an environment that is cool, modern and funky,” he adds.
Here are several hotels who have taken the concept of a signature scent and run with it, creating candles or other take-home items for guests to prolong the sensation of vacation, long after leaving.
Cheval Blanc Randheli: Noonu Atoll, Maldives
To create the signature scent for its private island resort, LVMH’s Cheval Blanc collaborated with François Demachy, head perfumer of Parfums Christian Dior. The product of the partnership is “Island Chic,” a perfume with hints of rose, cardamom, tea, cedar, and tonka beans. Aside from scenting the bath amenities, “Island Chic” is also infused in wooden combs and fluffy towels around the property to encourage a “meditative calm” while guests are in one of the 46 private villas.
Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park: New York, NY
50 Central Park is more than the address of The Ritz-Carlton's Central Park location; it’s also the name of the luxury hotel’s special scent created by Antica Farmacista. Enjoyed throughout the lobby, lounges, guest rooms, and as candle and room spray for guests to take home, the scent is a combination of natural elements found right outside the hotel’s front door. There’s elderflower, which blooms in the Reservoir South section of Central Park in early summer, mountain mint, which grows every August in Cherry Hill, and ripe strawberries, representative of the Strawberry Fields area of the park.
The Modern Honolulu: Oahu, HI
Plumeria, the yellow and white bloom most fragrant at night, is a flower ubiquitous in Hawaii and often used in the making of leis. Its soft scent is combined with green mango, orange, mahogany, musk, and star jasmine by aesthetician Eileen Harcourt specially for The Modern, a 353-room hotel at the start of Waikiki Beach. Just around the corner from the open-air lobby, guests may purchase the scent as a candle, body lotion, reed diffusers and room spray.
The InterContinental New York Barclay: New York, NY
Following a $180 million renovation, the InterContinental New York Barclay commissioned Nose Knows Designs, an olfactive firm, to create the hotel’s custom scent of juniper berry, lemon, leather and heliotrope. Historic New York apothecary Caswell-Massey, which housed its flagship at the hotel for more than 90 years, produces the scent for guests to purchase and take home in the form of shampoo and conditioner, body wash, body lotion, and bar soap.
XV Beacon: Boston, MA
The dancing flame of a custom, organic candle welcomes guests to the lobby of the XV Beacon, on Boston’s Beacon Hill. The hotel partnered with scent marketing firm Air Aroma to concoct the fragrance. which features a rich mix of dark chocolate, lavender, and herbs. The candle is, of course, available for guests to purchase.
Omni Mount Washington Resort: Bretton Woods, NH
You’ll have to hit the spa at the Omni Mount Washington Resort to sample the resort’s unique scent, Mountain Mist. Inspired by the natural elements of the Presidential Mountain Range, home to the resort, the scent focuses on local botanicals like candytuft, nettle and rosemary—ingredients reputed to soothe muscles, smooth skin and reduce inflammation. It's available as a body wash, lotion, shampoo and hair conditioner.
Jumeirah Port Soller: Mallorca, Spain
To create their lobby fragrance, Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa called upon a Maître Parfumeur in Grasse, France’s capital of perfume cultivation. The result, a bright citrus scent to evoke the nearby Soller Valley’s orange and lemon groves, is a combination of lemon oils, jasmine and rose, mixed with apple and peach tones. The fragrance is present in its spa products. But in the rooms, guests are treated to a perfume menu, should you desire a spritz of these essential oils to encourage relaxation and a good night's sleep.
L’Auberge de Sedona: Sedona, AZ
This destination is popular for weddings, honeymoons and anniversaries. So it’s no wonder that the signature scent at L'Auberge de Sedona has a romantic vibe. The L'Apothecary Spa is where guests will find the largest application of the fragrance, a blend of essences and oils: rose, lemon blossom, and rosemary. Following spa treatments, guests may purchase the scent as body mist, oil, bath soak or body scrub.
The Restoration: Charleston, SC
Peppercorn, crushed tobacco, Italian leather, sandalwood and warm amber are blended together to create Indigo, the signature scent of The Restoration. Designed to be “reminiscent of the heart and soul of Charleston,” Indigo is first encountered in the hotel lobby but may be taken home in the form of a poured-on-demand candle.