We love hotel trade shows.
For one November weekend, we slip into comfortable shoes, charge up our phone and head to Javits Center, where a pair of enormous shows previews the latest gadgets, accoutrements and surprises you’ll soon see in hotels (if you haven’t seen them already).
While it’s fun to ogle industrial size kitchen equipment, be wowed by high tech electronics and hear about advances in bedbug eradication at HX, the Hotel Experience, we gravitate to BDNY (Boutique Design New York) and its eye-catching inventory of wallpapers, countertops, bathroom hardware, floor coverings, artworks, bedding and, yes, surprises like real roses that can last for three years (more on that later).
What can we report? The ranks of familiar furniture makers and retailers with hospitality lines seemed even bigger — Ligne Rosset, Stark Carpets, Williams Sonoma, Stickley, Waterworks and the Container Store, to name a few. And expect to see even more curved sofas and mid-century-inflected furniture at hotels.
Here’s what caught our eye.
Swing time Since it began in 2014, Yellow Leaf Hammocks has made a name for itself by marketing hand-woven hammocks that are soft and good looking. The company was begun to bring income to the Mlabri, an impoverished mountain people in Thailand who happen to be gifted weavers. New this year is the hammock throne, a handsome beechwood arc on a steel base that holds a full-size hammock, angled to save space. Indeed, one hotelier with a warm weather property ordered a throne hammock for every room, giving guests the option to use it for relaxation or in lieu of a desk.
Fantasy heaters Metal outdoor heaters give off warmth, but do you really want to stare at one all night? Enter Kindle Living, a Los Angeles-based line of eye-catching, smile-inducing outdoor heaters that look like oversized table lamps dreamed up by Alice in Wonderland — or J.K Rowling. Kindles come in three styles — heaters, lamps and heater/lamp combos, like their new Blumen model. Lighted by LED bulbs and powered by propane, natural gas or electricity, Kindles are available in solid colors or with illuminated bodies that change color in time with music or float colors like lava lamps. Look for Kindles on the outdoor terrace of the Yotel Times Square.
Roses under glass Grand hotels spend a fortune on fresh flowers, but what if those fresh flowers could last for up to three years? That’s the idea behind the exquisite preserved flower arrangements created by Birdy Plan. Using a preservation method perfected in 1994, the Tokyo company turns fresh roses, hydrangeas, moss and greens into long lasting arrangements. Wall hangings made from closely packed roses sealed under an acrylic cover have the greatest longevity. But Birdy Plan also makes nosegays and bouquets that will bloom in vases for years. For something extra different, their circular tables in wood or metal showcase roses nestled under a glare-free museum-glass top. Just don’t add water.
Forever candles It’s the table top version of the eternal flame. Manufactured in Pittsfield, Maine, Lucid Candles look and burn like the real deal but with none of the drips or soot. Each candle consists of a polymer base that’s a dead-ringer for a wax candle, a wick and a polymer lid. Fill the case with liquid paraffin, close the top and light. You can even add scent. Though fairly new to the hotel business, Lucid Candles burn brightly in more than 40,000 churches including the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Trinity Church in Wall Street. (CM Almy, the family-run Maine business that created Lucid Candles, has made decorative furnishings for churches since 1892.) Amen!
Victorian tiles Our guess is Craven Dunnill Jackfield, a maker of custom handmade wall and floor tiles since 1872, wins the prize for the show’s oldest company. Founded in England’s Ironbridge Gorge area, the Silicon Valley of the Industrial Revolution, the company creates tiles using Victorian era molds, colors and glazes, ideal for properties that want a historic vibe or something that’s just different. Their tiles are on view in numerous hotels, restaurants and bars throughout the UK, including London’s Blues Kitchen Shoreditch and Harrods Food Halls and the Zetland Hotel in Middlesbrough.
Super flush It’s literally a white whale, the largest toilet you’ve ever seen but also a multi-talented beauty. The high tech Toto Neorest combines a toilet and bidet, has a temperature controlled seat, operates with a remote control and and self-cleans with electrolyzed water, a tornado-style flush and a porcelain base treated to repel waste. While smaller models are available, the big one owes its size to its self-contained water tank. And yes, the Neorests are water savers, making them popular in California. Look for them at the Nobu Hotel in Palo Alto and the Bardessono Hotel and Spa in Yountville.
Printed pendants Guess what the airy pendant lights pictured above are made of. And no, they’re not glass or paper. They’re created using polyester filament and 3D printing. And they weigh next to nothing. Commissioned to create a sculptural element for a building in Madison, Wisconsin, designer Adam Pollock of Fire Farm Lighting, a lighting design company in Elkader, Iowa, devised the concept and material. They’re available in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles..