Bobby Orr The Hotelier

Who would have thought that the 114-room Ames Hotel in Boston would become a shrine to one of the titans of hockey, Bobby Orr. Yet, with the recent opening of their Bobby Orr Suite, this property is on-the-map insofar as a destination for any of his devoted fanbase. For those who are not fans of the sport, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Bobby Orr brought the one-time-lowly Bruins out of the NHL cellar and propelled them to Stanley Cup victories in 1970 and 1972. Orr’s list of accolades stretches longer than most anyone in the game, perhaps second only to ‘The Great One’, Wayne Gretzky. “It is safe to say that Bobby is among the most celebrated and appreciated athletes in Boston history and certainly a hockey legend,” noted Jeff McIntyre, partner in Benchmark® a Global Hospitality Company, which is the owner and manager of the property, “and …

lmaadminBobby Orr The Hotelier

In Search of Hotel Excellence: The William Vale

The millennial revolution has turned Brooklyn from a place you came from to a highly sought-after destination. And no part of Brooklyn has witnessed a broader transformation than Williamsburg. The William Vale is located at the northernmost edge of this part of the borough, on land that once housed waterside manufacturing facilities. Despite its newfound hipness, Williamsburg’s street life is still in its infancy. Hence, to build a 183-room hotel in an area that has no considerable amount of pre-existing sidewalk life or nearby landmark attractions is risky business. So, as Sebastien Maingourd, the property’s general manager, remarked, “From an architectural standpoint alone, The William Vale attracts an audience just to check us out. We are creating our own foot traffic!” The sheer brilliance of the property’s imposing facade is evident from very far away. In fact, the design is so iconic that I was easily able to identify the …

lmaadminIn Search of Hotel Excellence: The William Vale

Renovation While Treading Lightly on Tradition

For over 100 years, the Ritz-Carlton Montreal has been more than just a hotel; it has been a bastion of the city’s ‘Great Gatsby’ society. Through its doors, royalty and those of privilege have passed countless times. The hotel has hosted the finest social functions and weddings including the impromptu nuptials (only two hours’ notice) of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. If these walls could talk, I am sure that they would speak volumes. For those whose knowledge of Montreal is limited, a short history lesson is mandated. The province of Quebec, including Montreal, is predominantly French-speaking. Yet, there is a distinct Anglophone culture in this its largest city which steadfastly had maintained a strong influence over the province through political appointments and strong financial influence. This led to a mini-rebellion (quite significant in a Canadian context) in the late 1970s, ultimately culminating in a vote to separate from Canada …

lmaadminRenovation While Treading Lightly on Tradition
A tropical modern villa exterior view with built in sofa

Defining Modern Hotel Luxury In Five Parts

How many times have you heard the word ‘luxury’ in a hotel description? It seems to be one of the most abused words in the hoteliers’ dictionary! I’ve seen many hotels claim to be luxurious, when at most they are just slightly better than average. There seems to be no clear definition for luxury. Looking for some clarity in the dictionary, the word ‘luxury’ come from Old French luxurie and the Latin luxuria or luxus, meaning excess. In other words, something that is luxurious is an inessential – a desirable item that is more than basic but not a necessity. In keeping with this definition, the basics of our product/service offerings are definitely not luxuries. These include cleanliness both for rooms and public areas, free and fast wifi, comfortable beds, sufficient amenities, generous hot water for showers, enough towels, quiet HVAC, good lighting for all needs, entertainment facilities, and security. …

lmaadminDefining Modern Hotel Luxury In Five Parts
Photo of businessman in expensive hotel. Aged businessman wearing suit, standing in nice hotel room, using tablet computer and looking at camera

Learning From ‘Old School’ Hoteliers

Hans J. Gerhardt Klaus D. Tenter Recently, I had the delightful opportunity to sit down with two ‘old school’ hoteliers. While both continue to have their hand in the game via part-time consulting projects, their days of managing luxurious properties are behind them. The goal of my interview was to get their perspective on the current state of our profession and see what lessons could be gleaned that are applicable to those of us still in the trenches. Both born in Germany and with classical European hotel school instruction, their work experiences include a myriad of properties. Klaus Tenter spent most of his time with various Four Seasons hotels then latterly to the luxurious Hazelton Hotel in Toronto. Hans Gerhardt’s experience rests primarily with the Sutton Place Hotel, also in Toronto. What do you see as the greatest issue facing hoteliers today? Tenter: The ability to attract good, and even …

lmaadminLearning From ‘Old School’ Hoteliers

In Search of Hotel Excellence: Kapalua Bay

In the rarefied world of uber-luxury resorts, $1,000+ nightly rates are de rigueur (in season). Rooms, facilities, amenities, F&B, and guest services must be delivered flawlessly and all in perfect harmony. The GM tends to be more symphony conductor than hotelier in the traditional sense, as every member of the resort’s team hones their performance daily, knowing all too well the importance of delivering consistent, quality service. Maui, recognized as the jewel in the Hawaiian archipelago, serves as ground zero for several examples of the world’s finest resort chains, notably Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and Waldorf Astoria. A recent entry (opened mid-2014) by Montage provides a further refinement to the definition of the ultimate resort. Located at Kapalua Bay and next door to the Ritz-Carlton, the property comprises just 50 residences tucked into a larger residential complex. All accommodations face the ocean with spectacular views of the property’s grounds and, in …

lmaadminIn Search of Hotel Excellence: Kapalua Bay
Plate full of sweet cookie macaroon and mint leaves

VIP Welcome Refreshments

Certain tactics never fail, and here’s one that you should definitely implement at your property if you haven’t already. Offering your guests a little amuse bouche or free beverage upon arrival is an excellent way to get them in a good mood after the stress and exhaustion of travel, helping to set the pace for the rest of their stay. Most hoteliers are aware of this in a general sense, but it is the execution where we often stumble. The expected welcome refreshment is a bottle of wine, a small cheese tray, a fruit place, crackers, cookies or any combination of the five. Nowadays, though, you must look beyond the perfunctory and truly own this aspect of the guest experience if you are to make a lasting impression. While I can’t speak for your specific hotel and what might work for your budget, logistics and locale, the best I can …

lmaadminVIP Welcome Refreshments
set of cheese on a straw

An Urban Hotel That’s Using Cheese To Earn Some Serious Cheddar

Few restaurateurs on the planet would argue that cheese isn’t a good meal or wine accompaniment. But fewer still are properly leveraging these savory pairings to enhance the overall dining experience and subsequently turn a better profit. I’ve been a big fan of The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto long before it even opened its doors as I was eager for this esteemed brand to finally make its mark in my home city. Even though nearly every feature and amenity in this hotel is worth lauding, I have seldom mentioned the local Ritz Carlton before because, alas, I lack a reason to stay at a hotel overtop of the comforts of my own house some twenty minutes away. All that changed, however, after a chance encounter with the property’s Director of Food and Beverage Operations, Arjun Gopi, wherein he offered to give me the royal tour of their signature restaurant, TOCA. An unassuming …

lmaadminAn Urban Hotel That’s Using Cheese To Earn Some Serious Cheddar

The Hotel Mogel’s 2016 Hotel of the Year Awards

It’s awards season: the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, the Oscars and now the Hotel Mogels. What began as a fun little exercise last year in sharing some of the key insights from my yearly travels is now even more relevant this year as I’ve continued to traverse the globe and have stayed at 45 exquisite properties. And so, I’m happy to present to you the second annual Hotel of the Year Awards. As always, the goal is not merely to congratulate these fine establishments, but to provide inspiration and instruction for other hoteliers to emulate. Even though this is a biased list as it pertains only to my own journey, each property was nonetheless memorable for one reason or another and, when you have slept in so many different beds year-in year-out, you start to notice the patterns for what works and what doesn’t. This year’s winners are all well-deserved, …

lmaadminThe Hotel Mogel’s 2016 Hotel of the Year Awards

In Search of Hotel Excellence: The St. Regis Princeville Resort

In the 1949 Rogers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, a mystical island that’s visible but not reachable is referred to as Bali Ha’i. In the 1958 movie adaptation, they filmed on the breathtaking north shore of Kauai – Hawaii’s fourth largest island – with Mount Makana used as a substitute for Bali Ha’i. This jaw-dropping view sets the stage for the St. Regis Princeville Resort, and I was fortunate enough to sample this utopian setting for two nights while touring the 50th state. There’s trouble in paradise, however, or at least the potential for it. At first glance, you’d think this property’s occupancy would teeter on triple digits year-round for now until the end of time. But the reality is a Hawaiian resort of this celestial caliber requires a perfectly oiled machine to stay afloat. For the rate they command, expectations are likewise through the roof, and the competition is …

lmaadminIn Search of Hotel Excellence: The St. Regis Princeville Resort