Welcome to Hotel Essence Photography

Welcome to our Hotel Essence blog, founded by award-winning hotel photographer Michelle Chaplow, specialist in luxury and historic hotels. Michelle shares her world of luxury hotel photography, and we also highlight individual Hotels from the cutting-edge contemporary to world-renowned heritage hotels.

To find out more about Michelle’s career trajectory, and the prestigious publications where her work has appeared, read her Bio.

We have sections on keynote speeches, hotel photography tips for hoteliers, and we share news on conferences, awards, interviews with hotel experts, exhibitions trends and travel.

Michelle also manages to find time for a number of ongoing Personal Projects, including the award-winning The Pool of Life, and you can read her individual take on various photographers, themes and topics in Contemporary Art Photography.  For friends who prefer to read in Spanish, a selection blog posts are also available in Entradas en español.

We do hope that you enjoy our Hotel Essence photography blog – you can Subscribe to the Blog and we would love to hear from you in our comments section.


The latest from the blog:

Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence 2017 Winners Announced

Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence

Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence

Historic Hotels and Recipients Honored at the 2017 Awards Ceremony and Gala
Washington, DC – September 28, 2017, Historic Hotels of America® and Historic Hotels Worldwide® are pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence. Recipients were honored at a special ceremony and gala at The Omni Homestead Resort (1766) in Hot Springs, Virginia on Thursday, September 28th 2017.

Awards were presented before an audience of more than 200 invited media, industry leaders, owners, senior management, several of the conference keynote speakers and representatives of the finest historic hotels from across America and from around the world.

Honors were given in multiple categories ranging from Hotelier of the Year and Hotel Historian of the Year to Best Historic Resort, Historic Hotelier of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, and others.

Each year, these Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence honor, encourage, and recognize the most exemplary historic hotels, hoteliers, and leadership practices. The Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence are presented to historic hotels and hoteliers demonstrating innovative leadership, stewardship, and contribution to furthering the recognition, preservation, and celebration of these preeminent historic hotels and their histories.

From more than 200 nominees, the following Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide hotels and hoteliers were honored with these prestigious annual awards for 2017:

Historic Hotels of America New Member of the Year
 The Georges (1789) Lexington, Virginia

Best Social Media of a Historic Hotel
 The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (1876) Riverside, California

Sustainability Champion

 Inn at the Presidio (1903) San Francisco, California

Best Small Historic Inn/Hotel (Under 75 Guestrooms)

 The Dunhill Hotel (1929) Charlotte, North Carolina

Best Historic Hotel (76-200 Guestrooms)
 Mayflower Park Hotel (1927) Seattle, Washinnton

Best Historic Hotel (201-400 Guestrooms)
 West Baden Springs Hotel (1902) West Baden Springs, Indiana

Best Historic Hotel (Over 400 Guestrooms)
 Amway Grand Plaza (1913) Grand Rapids, Michigan

Best City Center Historic Hotel

 Marriott Syracuse Downtown (1924) Syracuse, New York

Best Historic Resort
 The Broadmoor (1918) Colorado Springs, Colorado

Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel
 Penrose Room at The Broadmoor (1918) Colorado Springs, Colorado

Hotel Historian of the Year
 Jim Hewes at The Willard InterContinental, Washington DC (1847) Washington, DC

Ambassador of the Year (Quarter Century of Service)
 Woodrow “Woody” Pettus at The Omni Homestead Resort (1766) Hot Springs, Virginia

Best Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel in Europe
 Hotel Waldhaus Sils (1908) Sils Maria, Switzerland

Best Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel in Europe</strong>  Hotel Waldhaus Sils (1908) Sils Maria, Switzerland

Best Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel in Europe
 Hotel Waldhaus Sils (1908) Sils Maria, Switzerland

Best Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel in Asia/Pacific
 Alsisar Haveli (1892) Jaipur, India

Best Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel in the Americas
 Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (1893) Québec City, Canada

Historian of the Year
 Chef Walter Staib, author, twelve time Emmy Award winning TV host of A Taste of History©, and chef and proprietor of City Tavern Restaurant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Stewards of History and Historic Preservation Award
 R.D. (Dan) Musser III at Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan Legendary

Family Historic Hoteliers of the Year
 The Smiley Family at Mohonk Mountain House (1869) New Paltz, New York Historic

Hotelier of the Year
 Philip Wood at The Jefferson, Washington, DC (1923) Washington, DC

Lifetime Achievement Award
 Duane and Kelly Roberts at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (1876) Riverside, California

Lifetime Achievement Award  Duane and Kelly Roberts at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (1876) Riverside, California

Lifetime Achievement Award
 Duane and Kelly Roberts at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (1876) Riverside, California

“The winners of the 2017 Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence represent more than 231 years of history and include the finest iconic and legendary historic hotels from across the United States of America and from around the world,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Director of Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “We applaud these magnificent historic hotels and their hoteliers for their dedication, passion, stewardship and success in preserving these treasures and their stories for future generations of travelers.”

Award recipients are selected from nominees received from historic hotels, historic preservation supporters, prior award recipients, and leadership from Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. As official programs of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide provide the recognition to travelers, civic leaders, and the global cultural, heritage, and historic travel market that member hotels are among the finest historic hotels across
America and around the world. The Historic Hotels Annual Awards of Excellence program recognizes the pinnacle of this distinct group of nominees in a range of categories.

Historic Hotels of America is the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for recognizing and celebrating the finest Historic Hotels. Historic Hotels of America has more than 300 historic hotels. These historic hotels have all faithfully maintained their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity in the United States of America, including 46 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Historic Hotels of America is comprised of mostly independently owned and operated historic hotels. More than 30 of the world’s finest hospitality brands, chains, and collections are represented in Historic Hotels of America. To be nominated and selected for membership into this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; has been designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historic significance. For more information, please visit HistoricHotels.org.

Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence

Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence

 

Increase Hotel Reservations by using Professional Hotel Photography

By Michelle Chaplow

I have a dream job. As a hotel photographer, I travel on assignments all around the globe with my crew to photograph some of the world’s most beautiful hotels.
I have been fortunate enough to photograph everything from brand new multi-million-dollar projects to heritage hotels, full of character, founded in a bygone age and yet still highly valued in today’s world.

Hotel photography without a doubt is an investment and good hotel photographer will not only want to capture a hotel in it´s best possible light, he or she will be mindful of the clients needs and aim to create images that `sell’ room nights.

Hotel Photography Brief

Hotel Photography Planning Meeting

Quality hotel photography also tells a story, and stories create a need, a call to action, and hopefully a reservation. Many studies highlight the importance of photography, when selecting a hotel online, including a study by Cornell University in New York

Gourmet Marketing, tell us that after price, photography is the most important factor for travellers and prospects scanning Online travel agents) OTA sites. Photography plays a role of 60% in the decision to book with a particular hotel.

Photography plays a role of 60% in the decision to book with a particular hotel

Photography plays a role of 60% in the decision to book with a particular hotel

Hotel Photography used in social media can also influence destination and hotel reservations.
Jimmy Rohampton of Forbes Magazine tells us that “Not only does social media make millennials want to travel more, it influences where they go and what they do…….”

Sunset from room 401 at the Park Hotel Vitznau © Michelle Chaplow

Sunset from room 401 at the Park Hotel Vitznau, Switzerland © Michelle Chaplow


Not only does social media make millennials want to travel more, it influences where they go and what they do…

Not only does social media make millennials want to travel more, it influences where they go and what they do…

It´s worth thinking about a hotel´s Instagrammability and selecting the finest photography you have for that little “take me there” message.
Stefano Lodi General Manager at the Wellesely told me told me “we have used this image so much in or marketing, guests just love it”

Lovers of beautiful bathtubs will enjoy this image, taken at The Wellesley Hotel, London  © Michelle Chaplow

Lovers of beautiful bathtubs will enjoy this image, taken at The Wellesley Hotel, London © Michelle Chaplow


When you finish a hotel assignment, you never quite know which image will become a “signature shot”.

Oberoi Rajvillas is avery unique property and this image taken in 2014 has over the years this photography has become their signature shot.

The Oberoi Rajvillas, Jaipur, India © Michelle Chaplow

The Oberoi Rajvillas, Jaipur, India © Michelle Chaplow


And its so much appreciated when the proprietor take the time to send a thank you note. “Dear Michelle, I am speechless – this picture of Rajvillas is amazing, magical and even this does not fully describe how incredible it is. Thank you so, so….much.”
July 2014
Mr. Vikram Oberoi Chief Operating Officer and Joint Managing Director, The Oberoi Group

Sometimes a certain photograph really captures the ambience of a particular corner of the hotel such as this image from Finca Cortesin, in Southern Spain. I have seen this image published so many times, it must appeal to guests and picture editors alike.

Al fresco dinning at El Jardin de Lutz, Finca Cortesin © Michelle Chaplow

Al fresco dinning at El Jardin de Lutz, Finca Cortesin, Spain © Michelle Chaplow

As a hotel Photographer, I feel that its not only important that the images are technically good, I am also mindful to capture the essence of the property and try to create that especially appealing “Take me there” visual image.
I do believe that hotels that invest in quality professional photography are sure to reap rewards in reservations.

I would love to hear your thoughts.