Boutique Design’s 2017 Up-and-Coming Hoteliers are making their marks with niche hotel concepts that sell to Main Street and Wall Street.
How Lark changed design and how design changed Lark: “We are not trying to create perfect hotel rooms; we are trying to create great spaces that make people feel good. In our view, hotels are still too institutional. Because we often choose adaptive reuse projects, the architecture feels more residential. We play on this by using layers of texture and pattern, great fabrics and comfortable materials to create inviting spaces. Function is important in this space, but form carries equal weight.”
How far, how fast, how much: “I would open 20 hotels a year if it was up to me, but I have a core team of people that can provide the antidote for my sometimes-blind ambition. In the next couple years, we are interested in expanding into the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Pacific Northwest, and adding to our presence in California. In 2012 we set a goal of having a 40-hotel portfolio within 10 years. That’s still the target.”
What inspires him: “When I travel, I get ideas about what to do, and what to avoid! On a recent trip I arrived at 1:30 AM and my only choice was a Courtyard by Marriott. I left feeling like the designer’s goal was to be as neutral as possible. I could have been sleeping anywhere. I contrast that with a stay I had at the ACE Hotel in LA. That place reeked of authenticity. Ultimately though, it’s the people I work with that inspire me most.”
Why he’s a risk taker: “Most of the deals we do are in ‘risky’ seasonal secondary markets where acquisition price is lower, competition is not as prolific and inventory is dated. In this space we develop properties that speak to modern travelers while maintaining a sense of place. By nature I think hoteliers need to be open to risk.
Alexander Mirza | president, co-founder and ceo | Cachet Hospitality Group | Shanghai and Santa Monica, California
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