The other day, someone from Priceline.com wrote me and asked me to give my impressions and immediate reactions when I thought of the site and brand. They wondered if I had any knee-jerk or stereotypical thoughts when Priceline was brought to my attention.
It’s true. Marketing and public relations firms work extremely hard to protect the images of brands. While I had no previous experience with Priceline, they were looking to see if one bad interaction or hearsay I’d heard in a bar was preventing me from using the service. And if you think for one second that there aren’t people out there who avoid brands because of a vague feeling that somehow got in their head, you’re not paying attention.
Even though I didn’t have much to offer the people at Priceline (other than the fact that they have annoying commercials), it put another recent experience into context for me. In February while in St. Maarten, I visited the Radisson Blu property in Asne Marcel, right near the trailhead for the beach hike I told you about. Does anyone remember the roadside Radissons we grew up with? I’ll be honest: When it comes to Radisson, I’ve got the type of childhood association that PR firms work day and night to try to erase.
I’m not sure why and I can’t tell you any specific or relevant reason, but I’ve always just associated Radisson with being a roadside hotel, a pit stop along the way. It’s sort of the way I currently feel about Motel 6, Super 8, and Holiday Inn Expresses — they’re just beds for rent. Radisson used to be categorized in that class, until I opened my eyes and discovered Radisson Blu, specifically the property on the French side of St. Martin.
Radisson Blu is Radisson’s upscale hotel brand, whose properties were previously only located outside of the United States (now there are two here domestically, one in Chicago and one that just opened at the Mall of America). As you’ll see in the photo essay below, the new properties look nothing like roadside rest stops! I’m not sure if anyone else was guilty of the same associations as I was, but hopefully this will help you change your mind and maybe give Radisson a look for your next trip. The colors are hard to ignore, and I like the plantation-style lobby and layout.
My favorite perk is that the hotel will pick you up from Princess Juliana Airport and transport you to the hotel via boat. I would say that’s one hell of a way to land in St. Martin.
See 15 more photos: