Luxury Travel, Lifestyle and Marketing Trends

Signature Amenities Go Far

Warby Parker sunglasses, an amenity from STND Air

Warby Parker sunglasses, an amenity from STND Air


Departures magazine this summer wrote about “status symbol” freebies and signature amenities which reminded me of how an amenity  can go far in building a brand, adding value, and generating press and word of mouth. The best amenities relate to the brand’s image and are something you can consume and are useful, as opposed to my least favorite amenity in the whole world – the paperweight. I also think it’s preferable not to have the logo prominent because then it can smack of an advertisement, lessening its value. One of the better ones I’ve read about in the same article is the Warby Parker sunglasses Andre Balazs gave all passengers last summer on his STND Air charter. Aman Resorts has their own leather luggage tags which have become collector items, another good one. Beauty salons who got the message include Kenneth Salon, a favorite of Park Avenue socialites, that serves tea sandwiches every afternoon and I remember a tony salon in Madrid that comes around with silver platters of  toast with olive oil, tomato, and the prized jamon Serrano. It’s surprising more top restaurants don’t give diners a takeaway – like New York’s The Modern, who I remember gave me a lemon pound cake as a parting gift. On the other hand, last year in Paris I had a martini at the signature bar of one of the city’s iconic hotels, paid the equivalent of about $50 for the martini and was served the usual bar snacks. A missed opportunity for sure.

Blogpost by Karen Weiner Escalera, President and Chief Strategist

Restaurateurs Move in on Museums

Cafe d'art, a museum restaurant, makes special cakes for each museum exhibit

Cafe d’Art, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo

Leading restauranteurs in the US are finding new business opportunities in restaurants in museums. The concept isn’t new. Gourmet magazine featured a terrific article on the world’s best museum restaurants. These include everything from Nerua in the Guggenheim in Bilbao whose chef is a disciple of il Bulli and the Cafe Capaman at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris to the Cafe d’Art in Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo which makes cakes that tie in with museum exhibits.New York restaurant guru Danny Meyer has had his award winning Modern at the Museum of Modern Art for a number of years. Now, in the past two years the trend has accelerated as museums see these restaurants as an added service, generator of “buzz”,  and source of additional revenue. The Whitney recently opened Untitled, the New York Historical Society has a new eatery run by noted Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr and the hot Little Italy restaurant Torrisi Italian Specialties is said to be opening an eatery next to the downtown Whitney museum.The trend isn’t confined to Manhattan. At MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Montreal chefs Hugue Dufour and Srah Obraitis have opened the M.Wells Dinette where they serve up salt cod brandade and Black Forest Charlotte. Sounds like a “win win” for all.