DRESSING ROOMS: Trying to appeal to staycation-ers and those who need a break from their home offices, the Equinox Hotel has stocked its minibars with essentials to help keep guests on an even keel.
Before the coronavirus crisis set in, the 212-room hotel in Hudson Yards had offered more health and wellness amenities in each room. Ara Patterson, vice president of food and beverages at Equinox Hotels, said, “Our products are based on self-care and nourishment with a healthy dose of naughtiness (as in alcohol.) There is beauty, apparel and everything in between.“
With tourism tanking and coronavirus cases spiking around the globe, the hotel industry has been severely impacted. Some companies like Proper Hospitality are repositioning some of their rooms to offer workspaces. While some hotel chains have removed their minibars for COVID-19-related safety precautions, Equinox Hotels is keeping them stocked with items that are a little steeper than your average bag of salted mixed nuts. The RoomBar selection did not need to be scaled back for safety precautions, since most of the offerings are pre-packaged including Rhone apparel in sealed packaging, a $18 mask-and-gloves Stay Safe Kit and Alive + Well’s $90 30-day Respiratory Protect Pack. Through a partnership with Rhone, there are women’s and men’s offerings such as tank tops, leggings, T-shirts and shorts. Guests can also rent Rhone workout gear at the hotel, but buying those items is more popular lately, Patterson said.
Guests can browse the offerings with the in-room iPad to see where the items are from and what their respective benefits are. There are 75 to 80 products in the minibar. Focused on its own brand, guests and high-performance-living strategy, Equinox Hotels is not planning to offer similar assortments to other hotels, Patterson said.
As of now, some of the RoomBar’s strong sellers for Rhone are the $85 women’s tank top and $75 men’s shorts. “Our minibars are very much impulse buys. We had to be really savvy and strategic about where it’s placed because there is no salesperson in the room,” she said. “Everything is on the onus of the guest. We wanted to make sure that everything is placed correctly. So if someone is in the mood to go work out and forgot their workout gear, there it is. It is right there.”
Pre-COVID-19, Equinox Hotel executives considered how to accommodate guests with in-room products they might need for any of the activities that guests might do from the moment they wake up until they go to sleep. Knowing that many guests are now checking in for staycations, or for a new place to work or learn remotely, Patterson said, “Especially at a moment like this, the relationship between the guest and their room stay is more intimate and purposeful than ever.”