Independent Hotels - but especially Stash Hotels - have the freedom and flexibility to take care of guests in ways the chains cannot or would not. Hearing stories or reading reviews about how Stash hotels have saved a traveler's day is such a powerful reminder of why independent hotels are a cut above the rest.  

A prime example of this is the venerated "Wow" program at the The Lenox Hotel.  Each staff member is challenged to do something for a guest that goes above-and-beyond expectations to make them feel appreciated, cared for and noticed. The team is empowered to make decisions and judgment calls on how to Wow their guests.

Take one look at the Lenox Hotel’s TripAdvisor page;  little glimpses of this program can be found in so many of the reviews. The service and staff is the top item listed in almost every review.

One perfect example of this: A guest had spilled and ruined his tie the morning of a big presentation. He frantically ran to the front desk to ask where the nearest department store was as he was running late and needed a tie. Instead of sending the man off to Saks, this front desk agent slipped his own tie off and handed it to the man. “It’s yours, sir. Have a great presentation.” The man was (appropriately) floored by the generosity and scampered off to his meeting.  There is no policy for such amazing customer service. It’s just a culture of service. Find me a chain hotel that would do that, I dare you. (Rather, they’re more likely to write-up the now tie-less hero for a uniform violation.)

However, it’s not every day that you can rescue a guest's big presentation, or alleviate the stress of dealing with “French snobs.”  If a staff member is struggling to find that “Wow” experience, Stash points come to the rescue. The staff can give 500 Stash bonus points to a guest/member, just to make his or her day.  Wow!

In stark contrast, here’s part of just one section of Marriotts new loyalty program rules: 

At JW Marriott, Marriott Hotels, Delta Hotel, Autograph, and Renaissance Hotels in the US and Canada, Platinum Elite and Platinum Preferred Elite receive 1,000 points or a $10 F&B credit. At St. Regis, Westin, Sheraton, Tribute and Le Meridien Hotels, Platinum Elite and Platinum Preferred Elite members receive 1,000 points or a free breakfast. At Courtyard Hotels, Elite members receive 500 points per stay and breakfast in the lounge (if closed, breakfast in restaurant per day per member). If the Courtyard doesn’t offer breakfast at either the lounge or the restaurant, the Elite member receives a $10 F&B credit per member per day OR $20 if the member has a guest.  At Moxy Hotels and AC Hotels Elite members earn 500 points per stay or a $10 F&B credit, unless the hotels are in Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America in which case Elite members receive 500 points or an F&B amenity. If a F&B amenity is not available an Elite guest will receive $25 at a Moxy Hotel or $50 at an AC hotel. Hotels outside of the US pay this compensation in their local currency, equivalent to the $USD amount. Welcome Gift points and amenities are per stay NOT per day. Breakfast offering is per day.

In no case should a guest who is not an Elite member receive a Welcome Gift.

This kind of formulaic delineation of how a hotel can say thank you to a guest is the exact opposite of the authentic guest experience that most hoteliers aspire to provide. Compare this to the guidelines The Hotel at the Arundel Preserve provides to their front desk team how they should welcome a guest:

“Do whatever it takes within reason to provide the guest with an extraordinary experience.” 

Intuitive service doesn’t can’t be taught in a guidebook. Guests know it when they see it and it’s why they turn to the independent hotels at Stash again and again.

Emily McFadden