I won’t sugarcoat it: not being able to travel sucks. And while I’ve been lucky enough to get out for a couple of short, appropriately distanced road trips, it just doesn’t compare to hopping on a plane and heading halfway across the world to explore an entirely new country. I miss the discovery—the learning about different cultures and places, and sampling new foods—and the simple relaxation of being away from home, with no work to do and no particular agenda.
When Stella Artois said it was launching a limited-time Hotel Artois at Home staycation package—a collaboration between celebrities Eva Longoria, Liev Schrieber, Andy Cohen, and Blake Griffin—I had the same reaction I’ve had to most virtual vacations: meh. Do any of us really want to do anything that involves spending more time at home?
Hotel Artois at Home distances itself from the proliferation of at-home “experiences” in a couple of important ways. First, it’s free—as in, “no-cost posh treats for four lucky stuck-at-homers.” Second, it’s a kick. Third, it actually does afford the opportunity to kick back and entertain yourself with something new and unexpected.
I was given a preview sampler, which included a fluffy hotel-style robe and a pair of slippers, beer (of course), plus a swanky glass chalice for drinking it (lifted pinky optional), and a mini session on crystals and personal mantras with “energy stylist” Colleen McCann. I also sat in on a Zoom chat with “official bartender” Andy Cohen and “master room service specialist” Eva Longoria, who shared their own travel anecdotes and their perspective on the pandemic as a force for bringing together the global community and redefining luxury—whether in the form of enjoying the outdoors again or spending more time with family.
The winners of the Hotel Artois at Home virtual vacation get even more goodies, including:
- Doorstep delivery of a “mini bar” with luxury snacks, a robe, and a personalized itinerary, developed by Griffin, for activities like a mixology or yoga class or a caricature portrait
- A wakeup call from Schreiber (“Beware of his in-character follow up call if you don’t get out of bed with his first ring,” says the website)
- Home delivery of Longoria’s signature dishes, arroz con pollo, recreated by a chef in your local area
- A virtual one-on-one high tea with Andy Cohen
The hotel booking portal is open, on a catch-as-catch-can basis, between now and August 20. The first people to sign on and sign up when the portal is open win the at-home stay package. You can also follow @StellaArtois on Twitter for hints on when the reservations go live.
Robin Catalano believes in the power of storytelling to connect communities and cultures. She’s applied her creative approach to writing for magazines, books, blogs, websites, and a wide variety of marketing projects, and has published more than 75 articles and 1,000+ blog posts. As an editor, she has worked on more than 350 books for publishers including Penguin Random House, Workman, and Simon & Schuster. She has also served as a book coach for independent authors, helping them take their ideas from concept to print. An avid traveler and travel writer, Robin lives, reads, and writes voraciously in upstate NY.