Eschewing High-Tech Hotel Amenities in Favor of Old-School Record Players
By SHIVANI VORANOV. 21, 2017
When Schafer Newman stayed at the Goodland, in Goleta, Calif., last year, it wasn’t the hotel’s proximity to the beach or downtown Santa Barbara that impressed him the most. Nor was it the extensive cocktail and spirits list at the property’s watering hole, the Good Bar. While these features were welcome, Mr. Newman, 28, from San Diego, said that he was blown away by the record player in his room, accompanied by a selection of rock ‘n’ roll records, including “Let It Bleed” by the Rolling Stones. “I had never used a record player, much less really seen one before, and I thought it was the coolest touch,” he said.
Mr. Newman isn’t the only guest at the Goodland to think so. According to Drew Parker, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing, the record players in each of the 158 rooms are a big hit — as is the hotel lobby’s Vnyl Record Shop, stocked with another 250 vinyls which guests are welcome to borrow during their stay.
“Almost everyone who stays here comments on how much they love the players,” he said. “For our younger clients, they’re a new discovery and for our older ones, they’re a throwback to the past.”
While many properties today emphasize their technology-related innovations, at some hotels, old-school record players, with impressive vinyl collections to go with them, are taking center stage.
The Goodland (nightly rates from $179) is only one example of this trend. The Shorebreak Hotel, in Huntington Beach, Calif. (nightly rates from $219), introduced a record player in its new library area earlier this year. A local artist, Dave Reynolds, designed and recreated the midcentury console-style player, and the hotel now has a collection of 50 records, a mix of surf and classic rock and spanning from the 1950s to today. Guests are encouraged to check out these vinyls and listen to them in the library; the hotel staff also rotates different ones on the player during wine hour, held daily at 5 p.m.
In Boston, the Verb Hotel (nightly rates from $125) has provided record players in its 93 rooms since last year. When guests first enter the property, they are greeted by a library of more than 500 albums, including jazz, blues and classic rock, such as the Clash and AC/DC. They can check out these vinyls to take to their rooms; almost all guests borrow at least a few, said Annie Brown, an assistant general manager. The Asbury Hotel, in Asbury Park, N.J. (nightly rates from $125), has a collection of more than 3,000 records (including rock, pop and country), which are displayed in a wall unit in the lobby. There’s also a record player in the lobby, and guests are welcome to choose a record to play. The most popular selections? Anything by Bruce Springsteen, said David Bowd, the hotel’s owner.
Broadway musicals are the theme of the dozen records in each of the 14 specialty suites at the Chatwal, in New York (specialty suite nightly rates start at $1,950). The players are red, and the records are from popular Broadway shows like “Wicked,” “West Side Story” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”
International hotels are also showcasing their vinyl collections. The Berkeley, in London (suite nightly rates from £650, about $870), has a library of records from famous British musicians such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and David Bowie. Guests staying in a suite who want to listen to any of these records can request the hotel’s concierge to deliver a record player — which resembles a black vintage suitcase — to their rooms for the duration of their stay.
And in Ireland, the Dean Dublin (nightly rates from £170), has record players in most of its rooms, along with a selection of vinyls picked out by the local record store Tower Records Dublin. The choices emphasize Irish artists like U2 and James Vincent McMorrow.
Sean Park, a Chicago resident and product manager for a restaurant company, stays frequently at the Verb and said that listening to albums on his room’s player brings back fond childhood memories. “I blast ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson just like I did when I was in junior high and relive the fun of those days all over again,” he said.
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