InterContinental’s New Hotel Brand Focuses On Yoga Moms And Wellness Geeks

InterContinental plans to open a new chain focused on health and fitness, and hired crackerjack branding experts at Uxus to design it.

Don’t you always feel disgusting after staying in a chain hotel? It’s not just the cheap bar soap that leaves a weird film on your skin. It’s the greasy scrambled eggs you downed at the buffet breakfast. It’s trying to get in a run on one of two treadmills in a tiny, stifling gym (or, seeing the profusely sweaty guy on the other treadmill, and skipping exercise altogether).


Here to offer a corrective is InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which plans to open a chain of mid-range hotels focused on health and well-being. The Even Hotels will feature “multifunctional room amenities for fitness, nutritionally designed menus and service, work friendly facilities and repose-conscious spaces.” And they’ll be designed by Amsterdam-based branding specialists Uxus.

Uxus has done everything from dazzlingly modern office interiors to a chic hunting lodge in Connecticut. They’re an unusually hip choice for a hotel giant, whose other brands–including Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza–are the stale, cookie-cutter tract houses of the hospitality industry.

With Even, Uxus plans to create a full-blown Zen-like atmosphere, one that extends from the rosemary plants in the entrance portico to the skylights in the lounge to the timber headboards and natural-colored LED mood lighting in the rooms. Each room will include yoga mats for floor exercises, a coat rack that doubles as a pull-up bar, and a luggage bench that transforms into a weight bench. As for the gym: It’ll be designed to emulate the bright, airy feel of exercising outdoors. The overarching goal is to “fulfill the unmet demand for healthier travel by providing a destination where visitors can eat healthier, exercise, sleep, and work better,” Uxus says.

There’s a compelling reason to court yoga moms and wellness geeks. According to IHG’s research, some 17 million people, or about one in four travelers, believe their hotel stay does not walk hand-in-hand with their healthy lifestyle. IHG clearly wants to tap into that crowd and is smart enough to recognize that it needs fresh design to do so. Though we’ll see what they ultimately end up with. (My editor doubts whether they’ll actually use all that “hot” designy furniture shown in the rendering of the lobby. That’s boutique hotel-caliber stuff right there.) The first locations are expected to open next year.

[Images courtesy of Uxus]

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.