LOS ANGELES — Wyndham Garden's new Arbor prototype was featured at the recent ALIS conference in Los Angeles. Wyndham Garden brand leader Danica Boyd outlined the features of the prototype and talked to CLN about its suitability for Canada.
“It was my first time at ALIS and I was super-excited to announce this four-storey, 100-room prototype,” Boyd told CLN. “I came to the brand one year ago and have been on the talking to owners. The brand is suitable for airports, suburban locations on the edge of town.”
What she heard from the owners was that construction costs are up, along with labour costs. One of the reasons for the new prototype was to bring costs in line or below the competitive set. “We like to say they get upper midscale pricing for an upscale product,” Boyd said.
Wyndham Garden, and the Arbor prototype in particular, are inspired by the great outdoors. “Over the years, people have spent less and less time outside. We were inspired to let our guests have a place to ease their mind.” The prototype incorporates nature into the hotel, with lots of wood and other elements of nature. “It's designed to bring the outside in,” Boyd said. That spirit of nature is evident in the social spaces, which have 75 windows and include a portico with a window trellis.
Wyndham looked methodically and land and structural costs, coming up with a prototype that can sit on less than two acres of land. “We leveraged our Development Advisory Council, looking at details such as the number of footprints from the kitchen to the bar and where the electrical outlets are located,” Boyd said.
They came up with a prototype that is easy to build, and functions well for day to day operations in the long term. “Most of the development Council members had never owned a Wyndham Garden, or even a Wyndham Hotels & Resorts property. “They were so excited to be part of the process, providing a fresh new set of eyes and ears.”
The prototype features a new F&B concept called Nice & Vice. “We know some travellers like to stay in their routine while other want time to indulge. We don't judge!” Boyd said. “It features a streamlined menu with celebrity chef, Jet Tila. He put together the signature items. My favourite is a vice — Spicy Thai Chicken Wings.” But there are also “nice” options including the Chicken Grains and Greens bowl.
“All of the Wyndham Gardens will be adopting this food and beverage menu by late summer.”
Wyndham Garden hotels aren't aimed specifically at a demographic group such as millennials or boomers. “We look at the business traveller or the leisure weekender. We seek explorers — people who might say, 'Let's go check out Austin, Texas,” Boyd said. “It's not just for one generation — it's clearly timeless. Wellness is a multi-billion-dollar industry. We don't want something that will be trendy for two years. We're classic.”
Boyd said that after talking to experts on their development team, she believes the brand will resonate in Canada. Although it's generally a new-build brand, Wyndham would be willing to look at the “right retrofit in the right market,” and to overlay the Arbor prototype over an existing asset.
One interesting feature of the Wyndham Garden is its Fresh by Stay Well rooms, featuring air purifiers, fluoride-reducing devices on the water, and essential aromatherapy. Wyndham Garden in Niagara Falls, N.Y. is a hotel that has these special rooms.