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Hotel Scents

ere are two things that can immediately transport me back to another time and place. One is music, the other is smell.  Walking into the corner bar at the JW Marriott in Austin Texas and was immediately hit by this sweet smell that took me straight back to magical stay at the Marriott in Palm Springs for the Desert Trip concerts back in 2016. In fact, the memory was so strong that I grabbed my ‘phone and texted the girls, to say I was thinking about our great trip to the Desert.

That got me thinking about the signature scent that some hotels use and how it can instantly transport you back to a certain place or time. It also made me curious about the science behind the connection between our sense of smell and our emotions.

A luxury hotel smell

I mentioned the scent, and the positive associations whilst chatting to a Hotel Marketing Expert at the bar she explained that hotels do have their own signature scents. In this case the sweet JW smell is something you will find in all their hotels. 

While the JW Marriott’s signature scent does not have an official name, it is often referred to simply as “the JW Marriott scent” or “the scent of JW Marriott.” The fragrance is a proprietary blend of essential oils and fragrances, specifically created for the hotel to enhance the guest experience and create a memorable ambiance throughout the property. The scent has become a signature element of the JW Marriott brand, recognised and appreciated by guests all over the world. So the smell I had in Austin, was the hotel scent across the world. How Clever!

The bonkers JW Marriott lobby in Desert Springs, complete with boat rides!

It turns out many luxury hotel chains have their own scents. The Ritz Carlton hotel chain has its own signature scent called “The Ritz-Carlton Scent”, which is a blend of lavender, eucalyptus, and rosemary that is designed to evoke a sense of luxury and relaxation. The Westin hotel chain, which has its own signature scent called “White Tea by Westin”, a blend of white tea, geranium, and cedar wood that is designed to promote relaxation and wellness. I haven’t stayed at the St. Regis but I like the ‘sound’ of their hotel scent! Called “Caroline’s Four Hundred” the scent is designed to “evoke the glamour and sophistication of New York’s Gilded Age”.

But it’s not just the big American chains that have their own scent. My favourite hotel, Le Negresco in Nice he fragrance, which is called “Negresco Esprit”, was created by the hotel in collaboration with a perfumer and is designed to evoke the spirit and history of the property. The fragrance is a blend of notes including citrus, lavender, and rose, with hints of jasmine and sandalwood. I stopped in for a night last summer, en route to Eze and I could just feel the tension slipping away as the hotel ‘feeling’ came over me. 

In London, some of the high end office chains are getting in on the act. Luxury office company Argyll have launched ‘Argyll No. 3’ across their portfolio of London offices. Created in collaboration with renowned perfumer, Azzi Glasser – Founder of The Perfumer’s Story, this scent will be across all locations this Spring. 

Bringing the Scent Home

You can buy the JW scent here. It can be in diffuser or candle version. You can also buy the scents from the Ritz-Carlton, Westin – and Negresco.

That’s great, but I don’t want to buy it.

For me I would rather leave the unique fragrance of JW Marriott behind and look forward to returning to the hotel to experience it again. The fragrance is such an integral part of the guest experience, evoking feelings of luxury, relaxation, and care that are hard to replicate elsewhere. As a result, I prefer to enjoy the scent during my stay at the JW Marriott, rather than taking it home with me.


I am Jay, the founder of Wine, Travel and Song. UK based, I set this blog up in 2016 to share my passion for food & drink, travel and music - Wine, Travel & Song. In these posts I share some of my passions in the hope that it may inspire you to go there, eat that or listen to this. In return I hope you will comment and share recommendations of where to go, what to eat and what to listen to!