Why luxury hotel brands are developing their own beauty lines

  • Some five-star hotels are going beyond the complimentary shampoo and collaborations with beauty companies
  • Here are five beauty lines that are worth taking home with you
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2018, 8:49pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2018, 1:46pm

For years five-star hotels and resorts have collaborated with established beauty players ranging from L’Occitane to niche brand Le Labo to offer guests toiletries they can use during (or after) their stay. It’s proven so popular that taking home complimentary bottles of “designer” shampoo and body lotion has become second nature for most people after they’ve spent the night at a fancy hotel.

Offering lines made by established beauty brands, however, is no longer enough for a more discerning clientele. Hotels are launching in-house beauty lines, not only as a branding exercise but as a way to tap into the growing “wellness” industry.

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“These private ranges are a way for brands to express themselves fully and are part of a growing trend of brands extending their influence and imprint beyond their traditional brand space. It’s an effective way to build brand loyalty,” says Catherine Feliciano-Chon, founder and managing director of brand communications consultancy Catchon.

“Once you take that signature skincare range home, that resort or hotel brand becomes part of your daily regimen. When you think of that hotel, it’s not just in the context of travel, but as a bigger lifestyle proposition,” she says.

While launching an in-house brand guarantees the highest levels of exclusivity for guests and hotels alike, it’s not the only benefit. The hotel can target specific customer demands, be it results-oriented products or organic or natural skincare (the latter is a proposition that is deeply embedded in the philosophy of many hotel groups including Six Senses).

It can also be an additional source of revenue. Take for example, Cowshed, which was developed exclusively for British hotel and spa Babington House, which is under the Soho House umbrella. It’s proven so popular that it’s now a stand-alone brand and available at various beauty retailers.

Looking ahead, the trend is only set to grow as customers crave more unique experiences when they travel, down from the sheets they sleep to the products they use on their skin.

“Customers may feel a sense of novelty with in-house brands. There’s always the appeal of championing a niche brand or being among a rarefied few behind a cultish brand. Not to mention, they make nice gifts to give away or can remind you of your wonderful experience,” says Feliciano-Chon.

Five luxury hotel skincare brands worth taking home


Aman Skincare

The latest of the bunch, Aman’s skincare range was launched recently to commemorate the brand’s 30th anniversary. The line embraces a holistic philosophy that goes beyond the physical to address emotional and spiritual well-being. It’s also an extension of the brand’s DNA so it comes in Zen-like packaging designed by architect Kengo Kuma while the ingredients including healing tree oils and homeopathic metals are sourced from and inspired by Aman destinations, from Bhutan to Morocco. The 30 products include face masks and creams, body oils, milk baths and pulse point remedies.


Alila Li ving 

The Bali-based Alila group launched its Alila Living brand back in 2005 and even has a dedicated store online. The natural, organic line is one of the biggest ranges to date for both men and women, and goes beyond the usual massage oils and creams to include insect repellent, facial spritzers, lip balms and   after sun.

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Many products were created in the chain’s various properties, including the Avocado and Coconut Hair Smoothie, which is from Alila Villas Soori’s Hair Spa, and is said to detoxify, balances and hydrates the scalp.


Como Shambhala Beauty

Promoting healthy living has always been a core part of the Como Hotels and Resorts philosophy, so it came as no surprise when they launched their own products in the mid-2000s. Featuring essential and massage oils, body care and hair care, the line is formulated using high-grade essential oils and is free from nasties including parabens, petrochemicals, synthetic substances and artificial colours and fragrance. Its bestselling scent, Invigorate, is available at all their hotels and is a refreshing blend of eucalyptus, geranium, lavender and peppermint essential oils.

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In 1998 Soho House Group developed spa range Cowshed for the original Cowshed spa and bedrooms at their hotel Babington House in Somerset. By 2001, the line, which uses organic and plant extracts and essential oils, was expanded for the retail market. In its current incarnation it includes bath, body and skincare products divided into categories or “moods” such as the calming Knackered Cow range or Grumpy, to banish bad moods. You can find it at speciality boutiques, department stores and various Soho House locations, including Hong Kong by early next year.


Mandarin Oriental

Launched in 2009, the Asian hotel chain’s collection combines Eastern and Western therapies. Developed with the founder of popular spa brand Aromatherapy Associates and an expert in Chinese medicine, the range, which includes body and bath and shower oils, is based on the concept of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and features five elements – metal (Release), wood (Awaken), fire (Bloom), water (Reflect) and earth (Flourish). The formulas have been created by a master blender and feature only natural ingredients that are paraben-free. Highlights include the Quintessence, which is a combination of all the “elements”.