Main Street Hotel is a pretty special boutique hotel in the original heart of Ypres, made to surprise and please guests!
Built between the 2 world wars in 1938, the red-bricked town house was also used to sell and roast coffee-beans. In 2008 the house got stripped, re-designed, completely renovated, filled with intriguing curiosities and opened as the Main Street Hotel on the 1st of April 2011!
It was quickly noticed to be something out-of-the-box and –although small – became the number 1 hotel in Flanders.
Main Street Hotel has been rewarded by the Trip-Advisor reviewers with wonderful reviews that gave the hotel a Travelers’Choice Award each year: best service in Belgium, best small hotel in Belgium, most romantic hotel in Belgium,… Main Street Hotel pleases in so many ways!
If you see the breakfast photo’s on their sites: They are mouth watering!
You might consider a notel after visiting a new site on the block: Hotel Haiku, curated by Garri Rayne.
Hotel Haiku has taken up the idea of describing Hotels and, more importantly notels in a real Zen way, with a Haiku:
haiku [ˈhaɪkuː] n. A Japanese lyric verse form having three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, traditionally invoking an aspect of nature or the seasons.
I’m particularly attracted to the term notel, because when I started out as a hotelier and was developing our own unique 3 suites only “hotel” Haagsche Suites, I had for some time the idea of naming it Not a Hotel. Eventually I decided to name it “Haagsche Suites” (i.e. suites of The Hague), because Not A Hotel sounded a bit negative. Never thought of notel.
I congratulate Hotel Haiku with the invention of this term notel. As they describe it:
notel [nəʊˈtɛl] n. An exceptional, often architecturally designed, holiday and vacation rental property that draws inspiration from the design hotel phenomenon.
So notel is beyond Hotel, beyond Hip Hotel, beyond Boutique Hotel, beyond Design Hotel or beyond what hotel have you and at the same time it is below the usual hotel radar. Thank you Hotel Haiku!
First Hotel Haiku (@hotelhaiku) found me via Twitter and I noticed it without paying much attention. Then I found out more about the site via our friends over at Tnooz. I refer to their review of the Hotel Haiku site.
I’m set to explore the phenomenon further and created even a notel category, because I’ve featured some notels here on the blog already.
As Garri pointed out in his comment the undercast n is essential for the idea behind the term notel , so I have edited all, but couldn’t withstand to add little bit of my own: red 🙂
It is really refreshing when you are sitting at a conference with presentations and discussions of travel and hospitality and tech types who only seem interested in their good self or their own product or service and are not outgoing and not interested in the guest, their clientÃ¨le, or only maybe in the money of the guest, to get a presentation of a really passionate couple. James Lohan and Tamara Heber-Percy (see also my interview with Tamara) , the husband and wife who founded the Mr and Mrs Smith Collections under the caption: Luxury and Romance meet Technology.
Yes, I agree. It’s all about Respect!
They both come from a completely different background than travel and hospitality. Again their success shows that innovations in this industry frequently come from those outside the industry.
They started out with the production of the Mr & Mrs Smith guides. They described their difficulties with getting the guides published. Never before was a guide produced with one editor and one photographer for all properties. Eventually they decided to pyblish the guide all by themselves. The interesting thing is that added to the guides is a Mr and Mrs Smith membership card which gives the holder some extras as upgrades or a little present from their shop. That gives the brand a tremendous crowd to source from.
They are adamant about the properties being inspected by themselves or a member of their team of +40 in the meantime, because they strongly believe you cannot review a hotel properly without having experienced the look and feel of the place. In addition they sometimes team up with unusual partners for the hotel industry like lingerie brands. They also understand that you sometimes want to stay in a self catering accommodation or luxury chalet, rather than a hotel.
They seamlessly have merged their Blog (in the air since July 2005) into their main site. However Tamara was already out there scoring whatever was said about the brand in 2004: Shortly after I became aware of their guides via a post of my fellow editor Willem Vos at the Dutch language Weekend Hotel Blog she already commented there – note the date of the comment is not correct, as Willem had some problems in 2008 to migrate the blog to his new platform running on Ruby on Rail…whatever that may be, but I know I made the comment already in 2004-.
Here you see some footage of one of the rather unconventional and hilarious ad they presented at the keynote.
If even Gesa Noormann of Escapio says in a comment under Kevin’s Travolution coverage of the presentation:
Thanks Kevin for the fab article. Despite the fact that Mr and Mrs Smith are Escapio’s UK competitor, I can’t deny that their presentation was fantastic!
then you know your presentation was good even if you were dead tired.
Some personal notes:
I don’t understand jot from what Kevin’s caption means: “Corporate Barbarism does not begin at home say The Smiths”, but that could be my Dunglish.
If you are curious to see who the guy behind Escapio is look here. Even if I say it myself, I like the picture.
I think Willem should start talking with the two portfolios mentioned here, Mr & Mrs Smith and Escapio, or alternatively they should start talking with Willem, to see if there are possibilities to team up to cover The Netherlands and Belgium better than they do now separately.
Added March 24, 2009:
Via twitter I got the link of the same video on their site: Mr & Mrs Smith | Get a Room!. It has a bit better quality than the YouTube one
Hotel Arena in Amsterdam has reopened after a renovation. It changed from a Stay Okay into a designhotel. It added 6 designer suites and modern design furniture from Dutch designers as Piet Hein Eek, Marcel Wanders, Ineke Hans and Marleen Kaptein.