How Does Music Affect Your Hotel Decisions?

music
Library of Congress

Music is becoming common on hotel websites, but does it really make us want to book a room?

A scientific study has come up with the answer: yeah, kinda. The journal Psychology of Music has published an article titled, “Congruency between instrumental background music and behavior on a website.”

As the author states in the abstract:

“Instrumental music (jazz and djembe) was played or not [played] while participants browsed the website of a well-known seaside resort and participants were instructed to select a type of accommodation. It was found that djembe music was associated more with a choice of outdoor accommodation while jazz music was associated with greater interest for hotel accommodation. Both music conditions showed a significant difference from the no music control condition. The ability of instrumental music to prime different memories and feelings is used to explain these results.”

So basically when we hear jazz we think of sipping bourbon in smoky interiors, while djembe makes us want to dance the night away in the moonlight. Um, OK.

Reading the article further, it turns out there’s a whole field of study devoted to figuring out what background music will do to our buying habits. Classical music makes us buy more expensive wines, for example, and playing French music will make us more likely to buy French wines. And here I thought the major determining factor was the physical attributes of my date.

The results of this study are pretty impressive. Eighty percent of the participants in this experiment picked a hotel room when they heard jazz, while 62.5% of the djembe listeners picked camping. For those who didn’t hear any music, 27.5% picked the hotel and 30% picked camping. It appears that mood music is aptly named.

Of course, hotel websites looking to get our money have to pick the right music. More often than not it’s some cheesy tune that makes us turn off the volume, or even worse for the hotel, click on another website. The annoyance factor is even higher if the music is clogging your slow connection or starts ringing out across your office, announcing to everyone that you’re slacking off.

So instead of spending money on music for their websites, perhaps hotels should spend more on music in their rooms. While Blind Willie McTell isn’t around anymore to play his 12-string guitar while you scarf down all the pillow mints, there are plenty of out-of-work musicians who would be happy to serenade you for a small fee.

Hangover Cures: A Global Primer

elephantNew Year’s Eve is fast approaching, so what better time to provide a list of hangover cures from around the world? Our friends at Alice Marshall Public Relations in New York asked some of their clients about local versions of hair-of-the-dog. Unsurprisingly, the preferred remedies all have a distinctly regional flavor. Here’s to a headache-and-nausea-free January 1!

St. Barts
On this notorious party island, the secret is to stay awake. Pull an all-nighter, and when “the bakery” in St. Jean opens, score a croissant straight out of the oven. Devour it, cross the street and jump into the ocean.

Thailand
Although I’ve found coconut water to be the best hangover helper in existence, Thailand has a more original cure. According to the Anantara Golden Triangle resort, Black Ivory Coffee (aka elephant dung coffee, which I believe puts kopi luwak to shame) is what does the trick. Elephants feed on coffee beans, which then ferment in their gastrointestinal tract.

The beans are then plucked out by the mahouts (elephant keepers) and their wives, roasted, and sold for approximately $1,100 per kilogram. But wait, there’s more! Eight percent of all sales are donated to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation. No reason is given for why this cure supposedly helps, but I’m thinking this folklore is full of … you know.
coconut waterMaldives
As if being in the glorious Maldives weren’t cure enough, Naladhu luxury resort has my kind of cure in mind (that’s me, right, killing a hangover in Mexico). They provide queasy guests with fresh coconut water from their own groves. All those electrolytes along with potassium stop hangovers in their tracks.

Cape Town
According to chef Reuben Riffel of One&Only Cape Town, a swank urban resort, you need to drink yourself better. His solution is an alcohol-free tonic consisting of one cup of chilled Rooibos tea (an indigenous plant), a half-cup ginger ale, and 1 ounce of lemongrass simple syrup. Top with soda water, and a dash of Angostura bitters.

Santa Fe
After many visits to Santa Fe, I’ll swear by the local’s cure for a long night. A green chile cheeseburger is the prescription, although I’d add that a bowl of great posole, green chile, or a breakfast burrito also work wonders.

Nantucket
Nantucket Island Resorts recommends a brisk swim in Nantucket Sound, followed by a visit to Brant Point Grill for a Lobster Bloody Mary and lobster kabobs. Now we’re talking.

Have a safe, happy, hangover-free New Year’s!

[Photo credits: elephant, Flickr user rubund; coconut, Laurel Miller]

Intrigued by Black Ivory Coffee? Watch this video!


Conde Nast Traveler Names Australian Resort Best In The World

Conde Nast Traveler names qualia the best resort in the worldFor the first time ever, readers of “Conde Nast Traveler” magazine have named an Australian resort the best in the world. The 2012 edition of the magazine’s popular reader’s choice travel awards selected qualia for this distinct honor, handing out a perfect score of 100 for only the fourth time in the 25-year history of the competition.

This year’s reader’s choice awards saw more than 46,400 respondents who shared their thoughts on their favorite hotels, cities and islands from around the globe. Each of the candidates are rated on a scale from one to five in a variety of categories, with their final scores representing an average of the Excellent and Very Good ratings that they received. In the case of qualia that tabulated up to a perfect score.

Located on the privately owned Hamilton Island, qualia is surrounded by one of the most beautiful settings in the entire world – the Great Barrier Reef. The luxury hotel features 60 private pavilions with spacious accommodations, sundecks and private infinity edge pools that overlook the ocean. Two bars and restaurants, a private dining hall, a world-class spa, fitness center and library round out the a amenities that will keep guests cloaked in comfort for the entire length of their stay.

Hamilton Island is located in the Whitsunday Islands, quite possibly the most beautiful place I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. For those who can’t get enough time on the beach or water, it is simply paradise. If you’re adventurous enough to enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving, the Great Barrier Reef is amazing as well. I spent hours just floating along watching colorful and exotic fish by the hundreds. As someone who tends to usually favor mountains over beaches, this was still one of my favorite destinations ever.

[Photo credit: qualia]

Dominican resort offers ultra-luxe island adventure

Dominican ResortA new Dominican resort has plans to change the travel and tourism landscape in the Caribbean when completed in February 2012. Eden Roc at Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic consists of 34 freestanding suites and three opulent bungalows, each one fully equipped with it’s own private swimming pool, that offer jet-setting guests an unprecedented level of intimate luxury that personifies glamour.

Eden Roc promises to spoil guests further with extravagant amenities such as the resort’s full service spa, three Jack Nicklaus signature golf courses, tennis facilities, Caletón Beach Club, Eden Roc Kids Club, five diverse culinary selections and more.

Located in the uber-exclusive community of Capa Cana, Eden Roc at Cap Cana is a 20-minute drive from the Punta Cana International Airport and private jet landing strip. Home to white haute beaches and tropical rainforests, the Caletón Beach Club offers global luxury clientele everything they may desire.

Families with children will have access to the resort’s jungle-themed Kids Club, designed to resemble a massive tree house complete with video games, mini dining area and Mini Spa, where kids of all ages can enjoy manicures, pedicures and hair styling in style.

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Prices start at $750 per night for an 824 sq ft Junior Suite with a garden view that includes a King bed, private swimming pool, private courtyard with pergola, marble bath with Jacuzzi tub, 2 separate vanities and bidet plus 1 touring cart .

Flickr photo by http2007


Mexico’s The Tides Resort has a luxury soap concierge

soap conciergeWe’ve heard of concierge programs, pillow menus and even hand-drawn specialty baths to help you relax and unwind while on vacation. But Mexico’s Tides Resort in the Riviera Maya has taken luxury and relaxation a step further with a Soap Concierge.

You read that correctly. A Soap Concierge.

Arriving at the Tides, you are welcomed with a “Mayan Blessing” by the luxury resort’s own shaman, and are personally escorted to your villa by your mayordomo. Then the Soap Concierge arrives to explain and provide this special personalized service.

I’m pretty sure we’d need some explanation too.

The simple story: A variety of soaps are presented in different scents and types – each offering a different experience. When you make your selections, the Soap Concierge slices your personalized bars from large blocks of soap.

Very nice. They REALLY want you to be clean.

The artisanal soaps are made in local Mayan communities following ancient Mayan traditions. They are formulated with organic ingredients found on the Yucatan Peninsula. The wide array of scents ranges from lemon and chocolate to rosemary, peach and oatmeal.

Are you hungry yet? We are.

The available scents change with the seasons, from cinnamon in winter to melon during spring. Each also has a unique property; for instance, oatmeal is excellent for exfoliating, the lemon is refreshing, and the chocolate great for relaxation.

We’re still hungry.

Depending on your length of stay, the Soap Concierge generally offers two or more bars of soap, which are cut in front of them. But if you would like to try additional varieties, the Concierge is happy to bring more selections of these aromatic treats.

You ask, the Soap Concierge will give.

If you want to take the soaps home – to remind you of your time The Tides or to share with family and friends – they are available for purchase in the resort gift shop.

Because there’s no such thing as a free soap.