Packing is a major pain-point of the travel experience – as is transporting heavy suitcases – but innovative luxury hotels have started offering guests wardrobes stocked with designer clothes when they arrive in their room. Samuel Ballard reports

Hospitality brands such as Four Seasons and W Hotels are beginning to experiment with bespoke wardrobe curation and partnerships with fashion rental brands so guests can travel light. It’s just another example of how they are going the extra mile to win well-heeled guests, especially when coronavirus travel bans are lifted.

The move is part of a wider consumer trend whereby retail companies want customers to see them as holistic lifestyle brands. Examples include Gucci opening a restaurant in Los Angeles, and brands such as Bulgari, Armani and Versace, which have all opened their own hotels. (Christian Louboutin has been planning to open a property in Portugal.)

The next logical step is providing guests with designer clothes – to rent, borrow or buy – so they don’t need to pack their own.

Leading the way is the Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort in the Bahamas, which last year began giving guests the opportunity to leave their own clothes at home – and buy one of three curated wardrobes from the resort’s boutique, Carlo Milano, which stocks brands such as Saint Laurent, Etro, Roberto Cavalli and La Perla.Ocean Club, a Four Seasons ResortThere is a beachgoer package (US$15,000 per couple) for “laid-out beach looks”; the weekender (US$30,000 per couple) for collections from the Versace Bahamas Boutique and the resorts own collection; and the Jetsetter, a collection of evening wear and accessories – including a timepiece from the Hublot Bahamas Boutique or a bracelet and ring from Carlo Milano’s own Into the Blue Collection. The Jetsetter is priced at US$100,000 per couple.

W Hotels took a different tactic at the end of 2019 and partnered with Run the Runway, a designer clothes hire company, to offer travellers the chance to wear the latest fashion while on the road as part of its “Closet Concierge” service.

The partnership launched in the US at the W properties in Aspen, South Beach, Washington and Hollywood. Those who book a room at one of its hotels can choose from four styles from Rent the Runway’s “Unlimited Closet” from US$69.

The selection is tailored to each W hotel and incorporate “Rent the Runway’s proprietary data on trending colors, designers, silhouettes and the climate of each location” (particularly useful for skiers). To return their rented clothes, guests need just drop them back off at the welcome desk.

“Travelling without luggage has always been my dream. We are thrilled to partner with W Hotels to bring the RTR Closet Concierge to life, so travelers can simply show up and have their dream closet waiting for them in their hotel room,” said Jennifer Hyman, co-founder and CEO of Rent the Runway.

Anthony Ingham, global brand leader at W Hotels, said: “W is always looking for ways to give our guests new/next experiences that empower them to express themselves and upgrade their travel experience, and the RTR Closet Concierge does both.

“Collaborating with Rent the Runway – such a creative, conscious and trend-setting brand – allows us to reinvent the way our guests pack and dress as they travel. Skipping the packing process is a whole new level of luxury for our guests and is yet another surprising way continue to reinvent hospitality.”

Meanwhile, luxury travel, lifestyle and fashion concierge company Voyager Club is taking a different approach yet again, by offering jet-setters a My Vacation Stylist service that provides guests with a stylish holiday wardrobe, delivered directly to the door, hotel, villa or chalet. All they have to do is decide which items they want to keep and the rest will be taken away.Voyager ClubVoyager Club also recently introduced a Sustainable Wardrobe – a curated vacation wardrobe of clothes and accessories exclusively from brands with a strong sustainable and ethical ethos.Voyager ClubDuring lockdown, Voyager Club is offering a bespoke “Staycation Stylist” service to people at home, who will receive selections including cashmere, nightwear, active wear and scented candles, all personally curated and delivered without contact in a matter of hours.

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