River+Wolf reviews

Review: 5 Star Travel Names

In the month of June, the mind turns towards summer – for many, the season of travel and leisure. And though some of the world’s great hotels and destinations have far from creative names, the space is also filled with intriguing monikers that invite wonder and curiosity. So, if you are a marketing professional or founder in the position of naming a hotel or travel brand, the monikers and tips below can provide imaginative fuel for the naming journey.


The name, Duffel, instantly conjures up images of sailors returning from long voyages, their belongings stowed in canvas bags jauntily thrown over their shoulders. While this may not be an entirely accurate representation of today’s modern travelers, the duffel bag is an evocative metaphor for an app that helps resellers simplify the process of selling and managing flights and their extras through its Application Programming Interface (API). Just as the capacious duffel bag simplifies the process of packing, this app’s technology puts the process of travel booking into one, convenient, place.

Tip: Naming a high-tech tool such as an API interface after a classic or old-fashioned object, like a duffel bag, can create an appealing contrast. Such low-tech words or images, when paired with sleek products, can lead to fun and surprising monikers.

Wheels Up

The phrase, “wheels up”, is a term used by both pilots and air traffic controllers to announce the moment an aircraft lifts from the ground and begins its flight. Given the excitement a traveler feels when the plane’s wheels are raised, the name evokes – and emphasizes – the thrill of a journey’s start. In an industry that often relies on merely descriptive names, such as FlyExclusive, Flexjet, or VistaGlobal, Wheels Up is a refreshing departure.

Tip: While descriptive and functional names do have a place, it is generally preferable if names have more oomph. And a great place to look for such names? In an industry’s terminology, although for trademark purposes you need to avoid words that might be considered a “term of art“.


Along with offering its customers a range of traditional travel services, Hanjin Travel developed a nifty app named Port. Port allows workers to travel to global meetings, conferences, and trade shows from the safety and comfort of their own office or home. In one, succinct syllable, the name captures two ideas: secure travel, as ports are often associated with safe havens, along with the concept of being trans-“port”-ed to far-flung lands. And since traveling with this app is all virtual, the name also points to computers with their many ports, and smartphones, which are really just hand-held “port”-able computers.

Tip: Finding single, natural language names with reasonable risk levels can be challenging but when you discover such diamonds, they can really pack a punch, especially when they possess layers of relevant meaning like the word, “port”.

One & Only

What better name for a resort collection that features one-of-a kind experiences than One & Only? The name suggests unmatched beauty and unrivaled experience in an exclusive yet unpretentious way. And given the expression “you are my one and only,” a whiff of romance floats around the name.

Tip: When naming luxury goods and services, try to be understated. Avoid overused images, tropes, and languages associated with upscale goods and services. This can easily sound pretentious and, ironically, feel less exclusive.

Black Tomato

A black tomato is a dark purple-black heirloom tomato with a smooth and savory taste. Given its aesthetic appeal, nutritional value, and rich color, it is a great name for a high-end travel platform. Apple, Blackberry, and the other food names notwithstanding, fruits and vegetables – especially if they are unusual (Mangosteen anyone?) – can still lead to delicious names.

Tip: In the hunt for interesting names, look for objects or concepts that share a feature with your company or product. In this case, black is a color often tied to luxury goods and services. Hence, the name Black Tomato works especially well for this exclusive booking platform.

Element 52

Element 52 is a resort in the Auberge Collection, a group of elegant properties located throughout the world. Located in the Colorado ski-town of Telluride, the name of this hotel and town points to the binary compound of Tellurium, a chemical element with the atomic number 52. The reference to the periodic table of elements – a collection of elements – plays to the Auberge brand as a collection of properties.

Tip: When developing marks for hotels, resorts, or other place-related destinations, dig deep into the meaning and etymology of city, town, and region names. As is the case with Telluride, this can sometimes lead to naming gold.

Memory Rooms

With its sleek design and modern art, guests would never know the Raffles Europejski hotel is 160 years old. In addition to being one of the grandest hotels in Europe, it provided studios for the city’s artistic community.

To commemorate its illustrious past, the hotel includes four spaces called Memory Rooms. Each room displays interesting artifacts from the hotel’s colorful history, including photos of the rich and famous who once waltzed across its polished ballroom floors.

Tip: When possible, replace an ordinary term like “gallery” or “museum” with something more evocative. In the right circumstances, an interesting name can add to the magic of the exhibitions.  


Even hotels include well-outfitted fitness rooms replete with yoga mats and resistance bands. They also have a healthy eatery aptly named called Cork and Kale, and a central area that more like a living room than a lobby. In other words, everything needed to keep travelers on an “even” keel. And, as “even” is an old word for “evening” the name also points to the hotel’s function – providing guests with a place to sleep at night.

Tip: When naming, words with multiple, relevant meanings like “even” are great finds. Even if the additional meanings are less well-known they can, with a bit of unpacking, add to the name’s storytelling power.  


With its playful, techy feel,  Yotel speaks well to the brand’s tech-oriented travelers who place a premium on efficiency, not prices. Given the names phonetic closeness to “yodel” – a songlike cry in which the voice rapidly shifts from normal to a falsetto timbre – it also evokes the concept of communicating across distances. As slang, “yo” also is a shout-out to capture someone’s attention and is a way of saying “hello”. All of this is a great fit for this casual, tech-oriented hotel brand.

Tip: When creating coined names, look for interesting ways to include a familiar word. The suggested meaning can make it easier for the general pubic to embrace than a wholly coined name.


Skylark is a new kind of luxury travel-company that provides members with amazing deals on 5-star hotels and flights, plus experienced agents ready to serve. The name does a lot of linguistic lifting. As the name of a bird, it speaks to flight, an idea associated with the wild blue yonder. Further strengthening the name, is the word “lark” – a quest for harmless amusement or adventure.

Tip: When using a natural word, think about the meaning of the whole word, but also explore how its parts might add additional meaning and dimension to the moniker.


The name points to an experience that is everything a proper hotel should be. As a word with multiple meanings, from doing things in a way marked with suitability, gentility, and rightness to an area contained within a city limits, Proper covers a lot of linguistic territory.

Tip: Finding single, desirable, dictionary words that clear trademark can be fiercely challenging today, but you can increase the odds of finding such a name by staying clear of words too obviously associated with the company or product being named.

1440 Multiversity

1440 Multiversity is a wellness destination nestled in 75 acres of towering redwoods where people stay for a spell to experience what matters to them. The name derives from cofounder Joanie Kriens’ recognition that it is vitally important for us to enjoy each moment we are living, an idea that is underscored by the fact that there are 1440 minutes in each day. Multiversity is also a great play on university, suggests many roads and pathways to learning.

Tip: Using numbers in combination with words – a naming style known as alpha-numeric – evokes curiosity. Alpha-numeric names also suggest something clean and contemporary.

Riverdream Boatel

According to its website, the Riverdream Boatel is a “sleek, aerodynamic, ultra-luxurious river boat that is more akin to a five-star hotel retreat than a houseboat.” As “boatel” (also spelled “botel”) is such a great portmanteau name, it is used by many. Adding “Riverdream” to the name helps distinguish the brand from the other boatel hotel names floating around.

Tip: When using a well-known word that many others might be using, adding a word or words in front can add a layer of distinction. This not only makes a common word stand out but can potentially make for a stronger trademark.


Freehand is a collection of hotels that merges the social atmosphere of a hostel with the award-winning food and drink worthy of luxury hotels. Adding to its charm, each hotel is unique and reflects the character of the surrounding neighborhood. As a drawing technique where artists draw without mechanical guides of any sort, the word “freehand” implies something individual and unique.

Tip: When creating names for particular industries, look for inspirations that, on the surface, may have no apparent tie to the industry. The idea of drawing without tools, feels just right for a free-spirited, non-cookie cutter hotel brand. 

Free Spirit Spheres

Quirky people are often called free spirits, and free spirits are most likely the sort who would choose to stay in a hotel named Free Spirit Spheres. Free also plays to something unmoored or unbound, which plays to the suspended spherical shapes among the trees. The brand’s naming adventure continues with the names of its residences: Melody, Luna, and Eryne – the last one derived from “eyrie”, the nest of an eagle or other bird of prey built in a high, inaccessible place.

Tip: People tend to think short is always better in brand naming. That is not always the case. Free Spirit would be a nice name, but Free Spirit Spheres is better. It alludes to the shape of the hotel and sphere adds another layer of intrigue.