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Heroes and Mavericks, 2016

(June 2016) posted on Wed Jun 08, 2016

Boutique Design’s latest Up-and-Coming Hoteliers, Jay Stein, Barry Sternlicht and Jason Pomeranc, have made their mark by going their own way.

By Oriana Lerner

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The irony of being selected as Boutique Design’s 2016 Up-and-Coming Hoteliers isn’t lost on Jason Pomeranc, partner and ceo, SIXTY hotels; Barry Sternlicht, chairman & ceo, Starwood Capital Group; and Jay Stein, ceo, Dream Hotel Group. They’re not only industry veterans with decades of experience; they’re household words in an industry where C-suites typically have revolving doors and a long list of “where are they now?” former executives.

Up-and-Coming Hoteliers
Left to right: Jay Stein, Dream Hotel Group; Barry Sternlicht, Starwood Capital Group; and Jason Pomeranc, SIXTY Hotels. Photos: Courtesy of Dream Hotel Group, SH Group and SIXTY Hotels.

Though they traveled different career paths, they all had substantial success early on—from Stein’s unstoppable rise through posts with Hilton Worldwide and Doral Resorts to Pomeranc’s genius time as the visionary behind the too-cool Thompson Hotel brand to Sternlicht’s tenure as the wunderkind whose David-sized private equity firm nabbed ITT’s Goliath hotel brands (think Sheraton and Westin) and showed the world that boutique hotels can be brandable and scaleable with just one letter: W.

But they weren’t just mavericks when going against the grain was easy. They’ve all taken their knocks—whether it was Stein spending 18 quiet years as the chief operating officer of then-Hampshire Hotels Management LLC or the stormy break-ups that severed the ties between Pomeranc’s Thompson Group and Geolo Capital or sparked Sternlicht’s departure from Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

That’s where the hero part starts. Not only did they continue to fight to make their vision a reality, they have proven they aren’t afraid to go back and reinvent the wheel when things don’t work out. Pomeranc had to restart from almost ground level zero after a split with Geolo’s Commune Hotels + Resorts. Sternlicht largely decamped from start-up brand building after leaving Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Stein had to learn a new set of rules when Starwood Hotels & Resorts bought out the three New York Doral properties he managed and again when former Wyndham Hotel Group ceo Eric Danziger left Dream in 2015 to become ceo of the Trump Hotel Collection.


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