BUENOS AIRES IN THE AIR: The grassland-inspired fragrance Bayo from perfumer Fueguia 1833 wafts through the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires lobby.

Does the hint of honeysuckle evoke travel memories? Fine resorts are hoping their signature fragrances will leave a lasting impression.


THE NOTION THAT scents can transport us to a faraway place or evoke a memory isn’t new, but these days, even hotels are turning to custom fragrances as a branding tool. Increasingly, properties and resorts across the globe are subtly diffusing a scent logo of sorts in their lobbies, corridors, and rooms, on bed linens, not to mention in the form of toiletries and candles as well.

“Scent-evoked memories are more emotional than memories cued in any other way,” notes Rachel Herz, an adjunct professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University and author of The Scent of Desire: Discovering our Enigmatic Sense of Smell. “The idea is that every time a guest smells the unique scent of a particular resort they will be transported back to the hopefully good times they experienced there. Seeing the name of the resort or a picture of it is not going to have nearly the same impact.”

The Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires has partnered with local perfumer Fueguia 1833 to customize an exclusive scent that epitomizes the property and also provides a sense of place.

“If you’re coming to Buenos Aires, why would you want to be transported to Provence?” explains Fueguia founder Julian Bedel. Instead, Bedel created the grassy blend, called Bayo, that has been wafting through the hotel’s lobby since last summer, which was inspired by the Argentine pampas, or grasslands. An amenities line is currently in the works for the hotel.

Similarly, back in 2011, Fairmont was looking for an independent brand to partner with for its amenities and was drawn to the handcrafted nature of Le Labo, a boutique fragrance company founded by New York-based duo Fabrice Penot and Edouard Roschi. The two brands collaborated to introduce Le Labo’s popular Rose 31 scent in shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and lotion form. Even better, the toiletries are free of parabens, petroleum, and sulfates.