Grab your camera, the robe wars have started
Grab your camera, the robe wars have started
27 APRIL 2017 7:20 AM

Some hotel companies are ditching the traditional terrycloth robes for sexier styles, and some guests are tempted to share on social media.

We lived through the hotel bed wars without personally caving to purchase that Westin Heavenly Bed for our homes.

We made it out of the hotel shower wars relatively unscathed—though every time I go to Las Vegas and see one of those weird glass-shower-in-the-middle-of-the-room-with-no-doors designs, I cringe.

Now it’s time to tighten those belts a little more because we’re about to face … the robe wars.

Yep, you heard it here first. The robe wars are already playing out on that most visible of all battlefields—social media.

According to articles that ran this week in The Washington Post and The Guardian, the standard one-size-fits-most-giants terrycloth hotel guestroom robe is being pushed aside for more stylish, colorful, luxurious, shorter—dare I say, sexy and Instagrammable—robe offerings.

In addition to new designs and luxury fabrics, companies are offering shorter, slim-cut robes for women, kid-sized robes, robes with built-in belts, robes with pockets deep enough to fit a smartphone, and more.

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Four Seasons Hotels, Hilton and others say they’re redesigning robes in that never-ending quest to make every element of the hotel stay more customizable, personal and yes, shareable.

The articles cite lots of happy hotel robe-wearers who took to Instagram and Twitter to share photos of their Kimpton leopard-print robe, or their Diane von Furstenberg-designed Claridge’s robe. (I’m not linking any photos here, but trust me, they’re there and some are NSFW.)

Yes, that’s right. People (and I’m guessing we can swap out “millennials” with “people” safely here) post photos of themselves in hotel robes on social media for the world (meaning me) to search for and find on Instagram!

As much as I find public robe shots weird, the trend of creating Instagrammable spaces at your hotels is definitely not weird, and it’s playing in to hotel design and marketing big-time as a visual storytelling tool.

Kimpton of course was the trendsetter in the fun robes space, offering animal-print, terrycloth robes for years while their competitors still had the giant, white, rough robes in the guestroom closet. Diana Martinez, Kimpton’s design director, told The Washington Post that “as we developed more unique properties, we thought robes should become more interesting as well.”

Now the brand offers some regional-specific robe designs, like seersucker fabrics in Georgia and North Carolina and Rocky Balboa-style hooded robes in Philadelphia.

New designs, celebrity designers and fabrics that can stand up to industrial laundering while still remaining luxurious—it’s genius! Just like TVs and TV channels, toiletries and great water pressure, guests want fancy extras they don’t have at home (or at least comparable offerings).

Now the biggest issue, I’m sure, will be making sure the robes don’t walk away.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below, email me at or find me on Twitter @HNN_Steph, but let me just say: I don’t want a picture of you in your hotel robe. I don’t want to see you in your robe (or your bathing suit for that matter) at a hotel on social media. I don’t care how cute you are—Instagram a photo of your hipster self at the hotel rooftop bar drinking an artisanal locally sourced cocktail in a Mason jar while the sun sets over Brooklyn if you must, but leave the robe shots safely on your phone, thank you very much. 

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