Next time you’re traveling Europe, you can leave your shoes at home.
If you’re staying at the Hotel Indigo, InterContinental Hotel Group’s boutique brand, you’ll find a pair of canvas sneakers waiting upon your arrival. The Indigo will begin stocking guest rooms with limited-edition sightseeing shoes in its properties in the United Kingdom and Germany this month. It’s part of a partnership with Italian shoemaker Superga, and the sneakers will replace an age-old in-room amenity: slippers.
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I’ve never owned a pair of “sightseeing shoes”, but Tom Rowntree, Vice President, Brand Management, Luxury & Upscale Brands, Europe, IHG says that the shoes are a way to “encourage guests to get out and discover” the local neighborhood that surrounds each property. Superga plans to design each pair to reflect the destination. For example, sneakers at the Hotel Indigo Liverpool will have a cotton reel sketch on the soles to reflect the city’s historical cotton trading activities. If that doesn’t scream stylish, I don’t know what does.
All sarcasm aside, the move underscores a larger trend across the entire hotel industry. As more properties work to turn hotel stays into unique experiences, many of them are taking the go local charge to a new level. From menus fueled by local farms to lobbies with artwork designed by local creatives, hotels are trying to shed the this-place-feels-the-same-everywhere-else environment for a one-of-a-kind model.
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It’s a trend that I think plenty of guests do, in fact, love. Traveling is about immersing yourself in the local culture, understanding what makes a city tick and getting out to sample all the destination has to offer. When you’re ready to come back to the room to relax, though, you might want to pick up a new pair of comfy slippers.