Millennial travelers are known for being health conscious, seeking bespoke experiences rather than material possessions and prioritizing personalized service and convenient, tech-forward amenities. And Gen Y travelers -- or those born between the 1980s and the early 2000s -- are focused on working to live versus living to work even as the distinction between work-life and home-life merges with in-home offices, work on the go and smartphones always at the ready. To reach the influential millennial population, which comprises more than 83 million people according to the 2014 U.S. Census, hotels are going to great lengths to lure this lucrative segment of the travel market. Here's a look at some of the hotels that are ahead of the pack.
W South Beach
Stylish millennials can mix and mingle with Florida's hip and fashionable guests at the trendy W South Beach. Guests are invited to stay active with a game of hoops at SWISH, the rooftop basketball court, or a round of tennis at SWING, the rooftop Har-Tru tennis court. There's also free first-come, first-serve bike rentals and a 24-hour FIT gym. Meanwhile, inside the guestrooms, you'll find stylish decor and art on display, along with a mini-bar with items to mix up a craft cocktail, as well as Bliss bath products. And with the hotel's Whatever/Whenever service, you can push a button on your smartphone anytime of day to have your wish granted. What's more, members of the Starwood's Preferred Guest program can take advantage of SPG keyless, which lets tech-savvy guests use their mobile phones as keys.
New York City; Norwalk, Connecticut; Rockville, Maryland
The Intercontinental Hotel Group recently debuted EVEN, a wellness-focused hotel brand that also caters to Gen Y. "While the EVEN Hotels brand delivers on the wellness-minded traveler's needs, this also happens to align closely with what Millennials are looking for when they travel," says Heather Balsley, senior vice president of Americas Brands at IHG.
The brand provides an in-room workout zone with an exercise ball and yoga mats as well as healthy grand-and-go meals and snack options, and culinary offerings for gluten-free, diabetic and vegetarian diets. Plus, working millennials can take advantage of ergonomic in-room workspaces with stand-up desks, as well as outdoor work space options.
Laguna Beach House
Laguna Beach, California
Those who love catching the waves will feel right at home at the surfer chic Laguna Beach House, located just steps away from Laguna Beach. Along with a vintage surf theme featuring memorabilia throughout the property grounds, the hotel offers a special package that lets you design a custom surfboard with help from a local surfboard shaper followed by a surf session on area breaks. Don't miss checking out the Pop Rocks, Pez dispenser and s'mores kit, or picking up a beach tote and blanket for sale in the on-site Surf Shop.
New York City
Guests looking for an out of the ordinary, far from cookie-cutter hotel in Manhattan will find it at Dream Downtown, located between the Meatpacking District and Chelsea. Its industrial feel, characterized by porthole windows as a throwback to the building's maritime past and stainless steel exterior, offers a contemporary setting. Guests can gather at the glass-bottomed pool, which sits atop the lobby complete with a 5,000-square-foot pool deck. Should you need a new pair of kicks while staying at the property, the hotel's Sneaker Stylist is happy to indulge, providing access to a catalog of limited-edition and hard-to-find sneakers. And the 40-inch Samsung LED TV with iPod and computer connectivity media hub will please tech-craving guests, while health-conscious types can grab a treat at the organic juice bar.
The Sunburst Calistoga Hotel
Even California wine country, which is known for its upscale boutiques and bed and breakfasts, is catering to Gen Y visitors with some contemporary-styled properties. The Sunburst Calistoga, one example, features a retro, mid-century modern design with rooms appointed with hardwood floors and tiled bathrooms with rainfall showers. The property is situated well within walking the nearby Oat Hill Mine Trail, catering to nature seekers and outdoorsy types, and on-site, you'll find hot spring mineral pools and Jacuzzis fed by springs beneath the hotel, which are known for their healing properties -- perfect for grabbing a glass wine purchased after touring area wineries.
The Curtis, A Doubletree by Hilton Hotel
When you walk into The Curtis, you'll experience an explosion of color and pop culture. You can choose to stay on one of 13 guest floors, which include inventive science fiction, music and one hit wonder-inspired themes and feature creations from Colorado artists. Craft cocktail-loving fanatics will enjoy the teak Martini Bar, while collectors can head to the Five & Dime in the lobby filled with retro toys, candy and sodas. Best of all, you can get a wake-up call from Elvis or Austin Powers before you begin your day of outdoor fun in the Rocky Mountains or shopping, sightseeing and sports in Denver.
New Orleans; Tempe, Arizona
Marriott's Moxy brand targets millennials with Gen Y features, including places to charge up devices, grab-and-go-style self-service and local art. The brand also aims to attract Gen Y visitors with affordable pricing and savvy amenities, including photo booth elevators that let guests snap selfies using props, motion-sensor lighting and keyless entry access. With properties in Europe already, the brand is opening its first two U.S. hotels in New Orleans and Tempe, and more properties are scheduled to open in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Memphis and Washington, District of Columbia, in 2017.
San Francisco, California
Located along San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, Hotel Zephyr has a industrial aesthetic that beckons the design-seeking millennial. The property houses the largest outdoor hotel event space in the city, and is ideal for interactive meetings with a full shuffleboard court, life-sized games of Jenga and Connect Four and multiple fire pits to gather around. The fun-loving atmosphere continues indoors with a 2,200-square-foot game room with a pool table, ping pong, Smart TV's to display guest-curated art and shuffleboard. And to cater to visitors' personal preferences, guests are asked "sweet or sour" upon check-in and are surprised with an in-room amenity reflecting their tastes. Plus, staff don't wear your typical hotel uniforms; instead, you'll find custom hoodies, denim dresses and jackets more in line with their guests' relaxed style. What's more, the innovative Zephyr Lab allows app developers to come and test travel apps with guests on-site, not only giving developers real-life insight, but putting guests on the cusp of emerging technology.
Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront
The first Marriott to implement the "Next Gen" room, the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront puts millennials at the forefront. The rooms feature open closets, sliding barn doors in the bathrooms, zones that serve specific purposes (sleep, work and grooming), USB ports and outlets at every turn and even in-room bike storage for those who enjoy visiting the city with bikes in tow. The property's Club Level lounge, which will reopen in October, will be open 24 hours a day, with iPads for browsing magazines and publications, grab-and-go-style snacks, local artisanal beers and a selection of bourbon. Meeting areas even feature options such as foosball and pool tables for added inspiration, and the property, located on the banks of the Willamette River, is close to the Waterfront Park.
Eclectic is the best way to describe this boutique property from the Viceroy Hotel Group in downtown San Francisco. With a bohemian vibe, rooms offer vintage-style turntables and custom-designed furniture. Using a service called Scout, guests can connect with the concierge using their smartphone at any time via a downloadable app or text. And the hotel provides plenty of communal space for both work and play, a favorite of millennials who dislike traditional meeting room spaces. And for those who want to mix work and play, the hotel offers a game room, filled with floor-to-ceiling art, oversized electronic Bingo boards, skeeball, shuffleboard and a basketball wall.