Love that hotel, and want something to evoke the experience when you return home? Or maybe you were partial to the hotel shampoo?A new web site, called The Hotel Couture, went live Wednesday and will soon sell bath and beauty products — body lotions, shampoos, conditioners and soaps — chosen by a group of 35 luxury hotels around the world. Each hotel will offer its own, custom-made assortment and the products are being packaged in The Hotel Couture travel boxes."Bulgari or Molton Brown, nothing against them, but you can buy them everywhere in the world. The Hotel Couture will offer custom-made products that let you dream about that special hotel," said Tommaso Pacini, a member of the board of The Hotel Couture. He's also chief executive officer of the La Bottega cosmetics amenities B-to-B company, which is a separate entity from The Hotel Couture."This is an online store to experience the culture of a very small group of unique luxury hotels, through beauty products. It transports the experience to where you live," said Dina De Luca Chartouni, co-owner of The Lowell Hotel at 28 East 63rd Street in Manhattan, which is participating in thehotelcouture.com.The e-commerce portion of the site will launch in Europe in early March and in America in May, but there's more to the web site than e-commerce. "It's about the people who create the magic, the tone and the voice of the property," said Pacini, noting that the web site's magazine section promotes the luxury hotels by telling their stories and profiling the owners, directors and other key individuals involved in the operations.Chartouni of The Lowell is among those currently featured on the web site, and her DDC 28 line of products created for the hotel two years ago, including body lotion, bath gel, shampoo, conditioner, a black glycerine soap, a white vegetable soap, scented bath salts and Champagne bubble bath, will be selling on the site."It's natural for me to do retail, to reach an audience that wants to experience The Lowell brand outside the culture of the hotel," Chartouni said at the party she staged at The Lowell Tuesday night to celebrate DDC 28's products for the web site.Those involved in the site said eventually the offering will expand possibly to fragrance, and other products with a "couture" aura that evoke or relate to the hotel experience.Robert Rabensteiner, a creative consultant in men's wear, was also among those instrumental in launching the web site, which is based on the premise that for some people, a hotel can be as much of a vacation destination as the city in which it resides. Rabensteiner is editorial director of the online magazine.For the most part, The Hotel Couture spotlights luxurious independent hotels, such as The Excelsior Hotel Gallia in Milan, Le Bristol in Paris and Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice, rather than hotels that are part of major corporations or hotel chains. "It's not about stars. Stars are in the sky. It's about iconic destinations that have something different to offer," Pacini said.
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