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Residence Inn Mix event at Residence Inn Los Angeles Redondo Beach
Residence Inn Mix event at Residence Inn Los Angeles Redondo Beach

It’s not enough anymore for hotels to just give travelers a room with a bed. They want more. Travelers want to feel invested in and passionate about the hotel brand. One way to instill the excitement is to give guests a little something extra, something surprising and useful—and that’s just what is doing.

Residence Inn, Marriott’s extended stay hotel brand, has come up with a cool spin on the average hotel happy hour called the . The program, celebrating the brand’s 40th anniversary, brings food trucks, local restaurant samples, local sweets and premium alcoholic beverages to the hotel’s outdoor or indoor spaces. It allows guests to mingle and enjoy the local area without having to go far from the hotel.

The hip lobby at Residence Inn Los Angeles Redondo Beach
The hip lobby at Residence Inn Los Angeles Redondo Beach

I recently checked out one of the launch parties of “The Mix” at . It was food truck night!

The yummy lobsta roll from The Lobsta Truck
The yummy lobsta roll

, , , and were there handing out free pizza, BBQ pork sliders, mac and cheese with chicken and, of course, lobster rolls! Each of the four food trucks gave us a free sample (more like an entire dish!) and then battled it out in a fun food truck contest for the best food.

While the Lobsta Truck won (apparently the secret is in the fresh bread and butter!), all four food trucks offered guests an excellent sense of the LA food scene. We had great free beer and wine all night, a DJ, and time to mingle by the pool and fire pits. And , a visual discovery app, showcased its image recognition and augmented reality technology.

Sampling at the Belly Bombz truck
Sampling at the Belly Bombz truck

“We know people who travel for longer periods crave variety. We also see younger travelers wanting to trade in evenings at a buzzy bar for a more comfortable way to relax and reconnect,” says Diane Mayer, vice president and global brand manager for Residence Inn. “The Residence Inn Mix changes things up and brings that fun energy and local flare into the kind of setting that truly brings the social back to the evening social.”

Diane Mayer, vice president and global brand manager, Residence Inn talks about catering to the traveler and the future of hotel happy hours
Diane Mayer, vice president and global brand manager, Residence Inn talks about catering to the traveler and the future of hotel happy hours

You can check out “The Mix” three nights a week at Residence Inns everywhere. They note on that the majority of their 700 properties participate, but it could be worth asking at your property to make sure. Here’s what a Mix night might include:

  • Mondays: “It’s On” as guests can mingle and watch some must-see TV or hang out by the fire pit with light-fare appetizers
  • Tuesdays: “Off the Grill” night allows guests to chat and eat great food, nice and hot from the grill
  • Wednesdays (alternating): Guests can enjoy local food trucks, sample famous local restaurants or sample local sweets. One of these three can be found on alternating Wednesdays.
DJ spins at The Mix event in LA
DJ spins at The Mix event in LA

Residence Inn’s new social hour is a great idea for travelers who want to experience the local scene but may not have the time to get out and do so. Gone are the days where you only get a tiny free drink and a piece of cheese at a hotel happy hour—as long as you stay at a Residence Inn!

Have you experienced The Mix social hour at Residence Inn? What did you think?

Photos: Caitlin Martin

Caitlin Martin

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