HD Talks

Loews’ OE Collection Seeks Originality

Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Projects, Trends | 0 comments

In college, I worked briefly for an online magazine. They wanted their staff to be “underground”—or posses originality. I had only joined because I was promised I could write TV reviews, which a rebel that does not make. So when they asked me what made me underground, I answered honestly that I was actually mainstream, hoping they’d see it as subversive, and not just blatant honesty.

This anecdote is a non-sequitur, but it reminded me of the way that hotels are also seeking that underground quality, to be original, authentic, experiential, unique. And while some (read: seemingly all) are launching lifestyle brands, others are using their resources to launch soft brands that position smaller hotels in the leagues with well-known entities.

In fact, Loews Hotels & Resorts recently launched its OE Collection, and I was able to speak with Constantine Dimas, senior vice president and chief business officer at Loews, about why the first hotel under the OE name, the Bisha Hotel & Residences in Toronto, is the perfect blueprint for what OE stands for and what’s to come from this soft brand. Continue reading →

Stonehill & Taylor Channel Time and Money in the Financial District

Posted by on February 18, 2015 in Projects | 0 comments

The Hospitality Design headquarters are located right in New York’s Financial District. It’s an odd pairing to have a publishing company in the heart of Wall Street, but the area is more than its financial past. In fact, the neighborhood is experiencing a renaissance.

Beyond the residences, retail, and new businesses cropping up, are also new hotels. In fact, last week I attended the opening of the Stonehill & Taylor-designed Residence Inn New York Manhattan/World Trade Center from Marriott International. It’s a walk I’ve done a million times, passing the Wall Street charging bull and the Century 21, right by the new Gap being built, and just adjacent to the clothing store is the 243-room extended-stay hotel.


The entrance of the Residence Inn New York Manhattan/World Trace Center hotel.

The hotel’s design plays on its geography by incorporating a theme of time and money that was inspired by the location, New York’s history of finance, and the historic clock set into the sidewalk nearby. Continue reading →

8 Ways Luxury is Being Redefined

Posted by on February 11, 2015 in Trends | 0 comments

While at ALIS in January, I attended the luxury segment session. We often feature luxury properties and are gearing up, in fact, for our March/April luxury issue, so the timing couldn’t have been better, especially as the idea of luxury is being redefined. Instead of invoking images of gilded doorways and butlers, it’s now more about comfort and authenticity.


The entrance of luxury property Rosewood London.

The panel included some top hotel thought leaders: Bernie Siegel, principal, KSL Capital Partners; Matt Sparks, senior vice president of luxury and corporate development, Hilton Worldwide; Erin Green, vice president of development, Americas , Rosewood Hotels & Resorts; and Russell Urban, executive vice president of business development and acquisitions, Destination Hotels. From their mouths to this blog, here is how the luxury hotel and luxury guest are changing.

  • Personalized service doesn’t mean a butler for each guestroom. Now it’s more about experiential travel and experience.
Continue reading →

Boutique Expectations

Posted by on February 5, 2015 in Trends, Uncategorized | 0 comments

One of the most popular sessions at the Americas Lodging and Investment Summit held last week in at JW Marriott & Nokia Theatre L.A. Live was the boutique/lifestyle panel. And it’s not surprising. 2014 was the year of the lifestyle brand—a much-coveted boutique-like concept developed by the big brands that sometimes get criticized for being too cookie-cutter.

The panel included John Vanderslice, global head, luxury and lifestyle brands, Hilton Worldwide; Mike Muir, vice president of North American development, Best Western International; Allison Reid, senior vice president, Starwood Hotels & Resorts; Niki Leondakis, CEO, Commune Hotels + Resorts; and Paul Scialla,  founder and CEO, Delos. They had the difficult task of confronting the many questions that come with being the segment of the moment. I’ve broken down some key points to create a helpful primer of what you need to know about this boutique/lifestyle segment, from the brands’ point of view.


A rendering of Best Western’s new lifestyle brand, Vīb.

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What We Learned: Takeaways from ALIS

Posted by on January 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

To start the Americas LodgALIS-Logoing Investment Summit (ALIS) Conference at the JW Marriott at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles this year, a video of well-known industry players lip-syncing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” played to the crowded Nokia Theater. It was also the theme of the conference, and it was meant to highlight how successful the industry has been this year (and will be in the years ahead). No matter your feelings on the song, the concept was right on.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that unadulterated joy was pervasive. When things are good, it’s hard not to be confident about pipeline numbers, occupancy numbers, new brands entering the market, new construction, renovations, deal-making, etc.

But what do happy people have to talk about? It turns out a lot, actually. Here are some key takeaways from this year’s ALIS Conference. (Expect more in the weeks ahead.)


The ALIS motto for the week.

Continue reading →