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When is a hotel not a hotel?

When it’s a work of art. I stayed at the Propellor Island City Lodge in Berlin this weekend. Its creator says it gives you the chance to ‘live in a work of art’.

This is the Glass House Room, which I was in. There is also the Flying Bed room and many others.

As hotels become increasingly boring, there is a growing niche market for themed boutique hotels like this, bringing some playfulness and innovation to staying away.

This room was immersive, by the way. The artist who created it and the hotel is also a musician and the room’s stereo bathes the room in his ethereal music.

The challenge for big hotel brands, I guess, is to build in a personality in the way that small, wacky, creative brands like this one can. Repeatably meeting expectatione – which is what branding is about: offering reassurance based on knowing what you will find inside in advance – inevitably has a downside: lack of surprise is a weakness as well as a strength. Surprise is what delights customers, not meeting or exceeding expectations.

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