Now Smell This


I did a site visit at The Gramercy Park Hotel in New York this week. The hotel is just off the lovely Gramercy Park, a small private park only blocks from Union Square. The lobby is just gorgeous – tall wooden columns,  large leather couches, a giant crystal chandelier, artwork by Julian Schnabel and a standout fireplace.  But what really struck me was how the lobby smelled (I know, that sounds really quite strange).  

The Gramercy Park hotel smells like a mix of cedar, a smokey fireplace, a room full of old books and leather. I’ve never quite smelled anything like it. I immediately felt cozy and warm.

It turns out that the Gramercy Park Hotel’s scent is a result of a custom blended candle created exclusively for the hotel by New York perfumer Le Labo.  The scent, Cade 26, is only available for purchase at the Gramercy Park. It is also $150 a candle.  

I emailed Le Labo to see what similar candles were available in their e-shop at a more modest price. They recommended the Santal 26, the scent that inspired the creation of the GPH candle; they described the Santal 26 as “an aristocratic scent, at once gentle, smokey and leathery.” 

I stopped by Barneys New York on my way out of town, and couldn’t really smell the difference between the two.  At it’s more modest price, Santal 26 ended up coming home with me. (Fun bonus – all of Le Labo’s labels are custom made, so the candle says my name, the city it was made, etc.)

Long story short, I got to thinking about the importance of smell at events and how it ties in to the overall guest experience.  Having had my perception of a hotel changed by just how it smells, it really got me thinking about what types of scent integration we can incorporate in the future…


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