Hotel And Airline Fragrances Can Really Bring Back Memories

Filed Under: Hotels, Travel

I just wrapped up a big trip with one of my best friends, Matt. He has been sharing his impressions of the trip on the blog, and is back with an extra installment about hotel and airline fragrances.

I finished my tour of Europe in Paris.  I won’t digress, but I will say that Paris is by far the most beautiful city I’ve ever visited.  I’ve visited it more than any other international city — I think this marked my 13th visit — and it just never gets old.  I have also stayed at the Park Hyatt Vendome on three separate occasions.  This is a magnificent property.  Unlike the Park Hyatt Vienna, it has consistently good, but not great service.  By Parisian standards, the service is top notch, and there’s no doubting that it’s the best luxury option in Paris that one can reasonably obtain on points.  The thing I love most about the Park Hyatt Vendome, however, is the hotel’s signature scent.

Park Suite at Park Hyatt Vendome

Park Suite at Park Hyatt Vendome

I’m a sucker for fragrances.  Anyone who has been to my apartment in Los Angeles knows that I have a large tray of fragrances in my bathroom featuring in excess of a dozen fragrances, and these are just my favorites.  I also have quite a collection of candles.  Maybe it’s just me, but I love it when airlines and hotels have a signature fragrance.  Perhaps this is because substantial research suggests that smells have an ability to recall memories better than other senses.  (The linked CNN article is the most accessible, not the most scientifically persuasive article on the subject.)

With respect to airlines, Emirates does an amazing job pumping Bulgari’s more feminine scent into the lavatories and cabin of first class.


Air France also has a luxurious smell throughout its aircraft.  I’m literally sitting in a Lufthansa first class cabin as I write this, and I can’t say they have a signature scent that I can detect, but they have La Prairie amenities, which have their own signature scent.  I now associate that with Lufthansa first class.


Hotels also often have signature scents pumped throughout them.  Two of my favorites hotel fragrances both — perhaps unsurprisingly — come from Parisian hotels.  The first is the Hotel Costes signature candle.  (There are actually several different scents.)  It exudes opulence.  When they commissioned the hotel, the Costes brothers’ (who own and operate a staggering number of upscale Parisian venues) motto was “all things excess.”  It’s a delightful scent, and apparently for sale in the United States at C.O. Bigelow, although even with international shipping it is cheaper via Costes’ website.

The second is the Park Hyatt Vendome candle.  Although the hotel offers candles and room spray, neither is available for purchase anywhere but the hotel.  I’ve never inquired about the room spray, but the candles are 40 euros.  I realize it’s not inexpensive, and some of you may think I am an idiot for spending that much on a candle, but I assure you it’s worth it.  I picked two candles up within a few hours of arriving in Paris!


The fragrance is really potent, and thus lasts a significantly long time.  More than anything, it’s worth it to me because it reminds me of my many trips to Paris and the excellent stays I’ve had at the Park Hyatt Vendome.  It doesn’t look bad on my coffee table, either!


As my bio explains, I don’t have the luxury of traveling nearly as much as Ben.  I love that Park Hyatt Vendome and Hotel Costes sell candles and room sprays that allow me to bring that experience home.  In a way, this is much like how Westin and W sell Heavenly and W bedding.  Kudos to these hotels.  I wish more would do this.

Do you have a favorite hotel scent, and can it be purchased as a candle or room spray? 

  1. I love the Park City Waldorf Astoria – and they used to have all of their toiletries as a Eucalyptus scent from Golden Door salon. They’ve since switched to Ferragamo’s Tuscan Scent – which to me is very uninspiring.

    But because of the great eucalyptus scent, the lobby and many rooms still carry the scent and it is amazing whenever I’m there. I have the remainder of a bottle or two of the conditioner from Golden Door (not for sale any more) and I love the scent. Always reminds me of the great times at that hotel.

  2. We love the Fairmont’s fragrance. My wife bought a couple of their scented candles and put them by the front door. It’s a pleasant smell to come home to.

  3. No favourite scent, but a couple of years ago, I stayed at a hotel opposite Venice Mestre train station. My floor and room had a very strong smell similar to laundry detergent or hundreds of dryer sheets. Not unpleasant, but strong.

    I would take the stairs to breakfast, and a couple of floors below mine was a smoking floor. No laundry smell, just smoke. I wonder if my floor was scented to cover up the smoke pollution?

  4. Shangri-la hotels are known for their scents. They even have an onsite botiques at the hotels that sell it in a variety of ways.

  5. Best scent comes from Le Bristol in Paris. Their offerings in the bathroom are awesome and every time I break open their hand lotion etc. (yes and it can be used for personal purposes) it reminds me of wonderful Paris and the old world charm of the Bristol.

  6. Not a favorite but a least favorite. Southwest Newark to Des Moines. This was not really a Southwest fragrance but more a fragrance created by the gentleman seated directly in front of me.

  7. The Langham Hotel has a terrific signature scent, and they sell a variety of items with that scent. I think Shanghai Tang either makes it or has something similar called Ginger Lilly. While off topic I can’t resist the scent at the Pink clothing store.

  8. Nice if you don’t have allergies to scents, but for those of us who do, stewardesses wearing heavy scents, people boarding a plane reeking of cologne or worse yet, those who spray it on themselves while in the cabin-Thanks for the migraine.
    Please, please, please, wait until you get to wherever you are going to make yourself a spring flower…seriously, I wish I didn’t have a reaction, but I do, and so does my husband. We can’t even shop in duty free without holding our breath. And there are many others like us. So I beg of you, for all of us who are less fortunate than you in the scent tolerance dept… buy the candles and take them home and enjoy, rather than wearing the cologne home. Thanks 🙂

  9. No fragrance is the better option. Yes please do limit the fragrance to the comfort of your own home. Excessive “pleasant” scents compound the unpleasant scents. And worse yet the smokers have an impaired sense of smell and scent to excess.

  10. So I had some great memories at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas with my wife… and it wasn’t until I travelled to S E Asia that I realized the lemongrass and citrus scent that pervades the property is the same that wafts through the streets of sub-tropical Asia naturally. Well, there are lots of scents that waft through sub tropical Asia, but lemongrass and citrus are among the nicest. Chum scattered…

  11. It’s very sad but I am highly allergic to perfume and, thus, would be very uncomfortable in such situations. I’m so allergic that, until I know a hotel and what they use to clean with, I rarely have my room cleaned when I’m staying more than one night. It sounds like I’ll be saving money by not feeling the need to buy candles, etc.

  12. Agreed! Al Qasr’s Shampoo/Conditioner/Body Lotion/etc Amouage kit was amazing. I took home a few and still have them after a year. I use them on special occasions.. OK.

  13. Some of the bigger chains like Ritz Carlton and Westin “create” their signature smell using a commercial scent dispenser made by a company called Scentair.

  14. I think it was Singapore Airlines who can claim the crown for being the first airline to spray their aircrafts with their own scent.

  15. Agree that all Westins have the same smell. I think it’s their branding, and I like it.

    My favorite scent has been the scent of Le Méridien Arlington in VA, though I don’t know if it is unique to the hotel or is the same for all Le Méridiens all over the world (like Westin.)

  16. Hey Matt,
    Just curious what happened to your post about travelling Lufthansa and having two celebrities on board?

  17. @Ivan, I agree completely. Contrary to Matt’s opinion, I don’t think this is the best points hotel on the block, never mind all of Paris. IC Paris Le Grande offered far better service and, for me, a much better “Paris feel”. Even better was Trianon Palace at Versailles, just outside of Paris.

  18. I agree @JPH, Langham is nice as are most any lemongrass based fragrances as @Modesassion mentioned. The Mandarin Oriental tends to have a really awesome signature scent, but I find that it seems to vary slightly from location to location. I’m wondering if this is intentional or my imagination? The Raffles Dubai had an amazing scent – a blend I couldn’t quite describe but found intoxicating – although I don’t recall any scent at the Raffles in Singapore. Perhaps I had my nose too far in the Tiger Beers and Singapore Slings to notice 🙂

  19. I just stayed at the Four Seasons Vancouver, and they have L’Occitane products as usual. This FS though uses the Mer & Mistral line, in both the bathroom amenities, and in the lobby area. My wife really liked it

  20. The smell I’d love to bottle is that mixture of jetfuel and coffee that hits you as you walk on-board any airliner.

  21. Some of my friends have visited Paris and then say that Berlin and London are far way better to visit. They complained on Paris having dirty streets. Is that true?

  22. hi matt,

    are you going to post extensive trip report about park hyatt paris vendome?
    since ben never stayed/reviewed it, it would be great 😉

  23. I am love the scent of the Park Hyatt, I discovered it a year ago and am just back from my 2nd stay there. I got 2 room sprays and two candles last year that lasted me quite awhile and did the same on this trip. I tried to get the scent in the US but quickly discovered it wasn’t available. The hotel itself has been upgraded from my stay last year. Bathrooms were a slippery nightmare last year, this year my park suite was retiled and it made a huge difference. The hotel staff while attentive, its still a bit of a casual attention. My room was clean and cleaned well daily. But I frankly stayed for the scent..a great memory always.

  24. Another hotel with a singular scent is the Park Hyatt Istanbul — Macka Palas. The parfumeur is also Blaise Mautin, who created the scent that you adore. They are completely different creations, though, as I’m sure they were created to evoke the essence of the culture and experience from whence they each come.

    Alas, it may be a short while before we have the chance to visit the Macka Palas, again. I just checked room rates tonight (July 16th, two days after the coup attempt), and rooms are available there for 117 Euros/night.

  25. There are A LOT of people that are allergic not just to fragrances but the chemicals and have extremely bad reactions. These “signature scents” that hotels and airlines are now using make it 3xtremely difficult to travel. Why not keep air neutral for all? These chemicals are not good for anyone.

  26. Park Hyatt Tokyo and Park Hyatt Beijing are definitely two of my more memorable hotel stays because of the signature scents (well, many others reasons too). Do you know if they are all by Blaise Mautin, and whether its possible to get the scents retail?

    Sounds (smells?) like you have an amazing apartment, Matt.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *