Sincerely, BLLA

Awards: Atit Jariwala

The BLLA Team sits down with Atit Jariwala, CEO of Bridgeton Holdings & Runner-Up for the Emerging Boutique Hotelier of 2021 Award! BLLA: Ho...

The BLLA Team sits down with Atit Jariwala, CEO of Bridgeton Holdings & Runner-Up for the Emerging Boutique Hotelier of 2021 Award!

BLLA: How did you enter the hospitality industry?  

AJ: “My parents managed an Econo Lodge motel in St. Louis, Missouri, so I actually spent my early childhood in a motel room, where we lived. You can say I have been in the hotel business my entire life! As I have watched the industry evolve throughout my lifetime, my interest has only grown, leading to my desire to be a change leader as a boutique hotel operator.”

BLLA: How is creating boutique hotels the work of an artisan? 

AJ: “I believe there is a pretty significant difference between being just an independent hotel and a boutique hotel. There are many independent hotels that are labeled as such simply because they do not attach to a larger franchisor. However, a boutique hotel, to me, is one that is carefully crafted to attract a certain customer. It has a point of view, and frankly, it should not be one size fits all. There may be an audience that does not love it, but for the customer that does, they will fall in love. They will enjoy the artwork, the linens, the various F&B outlets, the architecture, etc., and they will become repeat customers and brand ambassadors. Only an artisan can create this type of experience. A business person creates a franchised hotel or a plain vanilla independent.”

Walker Hotel Greenwich Village

BLLA: Why do you believe in the boutique movement? 

AJ: “People forget that the iPhone was created only about 15 years ago. Since that time, social media platforms and apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc. have essentially opened people’s eyes to all the excitement there can be in staying in a boutique hotel. It used to be that if you took a business trip, you would simply stay at the hotel that was closest to your destination. Now that we are all connected to people more seamlessly, we can more easily share our recommendations for unique boutique hotels that can make the trip into an experience. I think time has become more valuable, and why waste an evening? You will not learn anything new or experience anything unique staying at a franchised property. In fact, by its definition, you will get the same brand standard. I think people do not want to lose the ability to have an experience, and I believe this will continue to grow.”

Walker Hotel Tribeca

BLLA: How does being a boutique hotelier provide fulfillment in your life?  

AJ: “Being able to create lifelong memories for people, and to have them excited about an evening, a weekend, or a longer vacation, is a privilege. I feel joy every day hearing how folks enjoyed a special occasion or even just a nice night as a result of our bars, restaurants, interior design or programming, like a unique dinner on the beach in Montauk. Being a boutique hotelier is not a job to me; it is my hobby, dream and lifestyle. I could not be any more fulfilled.”

Atit Jariwala is an Advisory Board Member & a member of BLLA.

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