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Getting to Know the Leaders That Make Boutique Hotels Special

The boutique hotel industry has grown in its popularity among travelers since the term was first coined in the 1980s, and especially in recent years,...

The boutique hotel industry has grown in its popularity among travelers since the term was first coined in the 1980s, and especially in recent years, as discriminating travelers seek a more intimate hospitality experience that caters to their individual needs. The hoteliers who own and run these hotels have taken daring steps in many cases to ensure the personalized service their clientele wants, with a unique local flair. These pioneers in the boutique community tailor their properties to each unique geographic locale, and often to the specifics of the individual neighborhoods they are located in within a city.

High-end design is one of the attributes of boutique hotels that makes them stand out in the hospitality industry, along with the category innovation that makes these hotels truly unique among the many cookie-cutter brands that have flooded the industry. Top-of-the-line customer care and spectacular food options are some of the primary reasons that the reputation the owners of these hotels built stands out from all others. Their keen insight into thought leadership is the reason they have been able to address the wants and needs of their clientele in a way that other hotels simply cannot. It is a combination of one-of-a-kind amenities, cultural and community connections, and a flair for the arts that work together to create the “boutique feel.”

So, you may wonder, “who are these hoteliers, and what is it about their experience and approach to the hospitality industry that gives them an edge over others in the business?” These industry leaders have gained a unique perspective into the work they do to create spaces for travelers that emphasize creativity, provide an option to the monotony of corporate hotels, and give their customers an experience they will never forget. They come from many varied backgrounds and have each developed their own approach to building a business that they are proud to stand behind, one that discerning individuals around the globe will include in their travel tales long after they have returned home.

These hoteliers have all shared their own stories on stage at BLLA conferences in support of the mission of our organization that acts as advocates, educating, empowering, and unifying these truly special boutique hotels.

12 Hoteliers Who Have Made an Unforgettable Mark on the Industry

Richard Bosworth
CEO, JC Hospitality Partners

Richard “Boz” Bosworth is the former managing director of Global Hospitality at Canyon Partners. He gained the experience he needed to form Bosworth Hospitality Partners LLC in 2015 and begin his own venture into the hotel, restaurant, and casino world. As the current CEO of JC Hospitality, LLC, Boz is working on converting the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel & Casino into Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

Avi Brosh
Founder, Palisociety

The creative force behind Palisocity, Avi is the founder and leader of this brand that has a passionate commitment to unique placemaking in the operational strategies, design direction, and concept innovation of the company’s platform of food and beverage, hospitality, and residential properties. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Avi has overseen the development of more than 30 properties from the ground up.

April Brown
Co-Founder, The June Motel

April stands out from the crown in the hotel industry by curating a personal experience for her guests through a connection with the community. She aims to provide guests with an experience they wouldn’t expect and make them feel like they are a part of something by creating personality and maintaining a strong identity.

Mark Durliat
CEO, Grace Bay Resorts

As CEO and Co-founder of Grace Bay Resorts, Mark knows the luxury travel industry and the desires of his clientele very well. From transforming the Grace Bay Club, a 22-room boutique hotel in Turks and Caicos, into an 80-suite condominium resort to the four resort properties and luxury villa rental company the business now runs, Mark has been a pioneer in the boutique industry.

Lynn Easton & Dean Porter Andrews
Founders, Easton Porter Group

Dean and Lynn are a powerful force, with their combined efforts as co-founders of the Easton Porter Group. Lynn handles their luxury event management and design needs, and Dean handles the hospitality side of the business. The two partners have a keen eye for detail, making every stay memorable for those who choose tier hotels.

Chris Green
President CEO, Chesapeake Hospitality

Chris believes that being “boutique” comes natural to those who have a desire to provide true hospitality. Listening to the marketplace and responding accordingly makes the experience he provides for his guests one that they will be delighted in. He places focus on nuance and global inclusiveness as he adapts to the changes in the current industry landscape to emerge stronger than ever.

Charles Khabouth
Founder and CEO, Ink Entertainment

As the operator of INK Entertainment since 1982, Charles has always been driven to take festivals, galleries, events, nightclubs, hotels, and restaurants to a level that introduces guests to the things they want before they even know they want them. He believes that boutique brands can propel the hotel industry forward by challenging the status quo.

Larry Korman
President, AKA Hotel Residences and Co-CEO, Korman Communities

Larry and his brother Brad started Korman Suites in 1995, with the vision of taking the furnished apartment concept to new heights in the hotel industry on the east coast. In 2004, he founded AKA Hotel Residences, as he discovered the need for luxury extended-stay residences that offered hotel services in major cities.

Nadira Lalji
Founder, Inhabit Hotels

Nadira got her start in the industry with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts after graduating summa cum laude from Harvard in 2009. Her lifestyle and wellness hotel brand expresses her commitment to the well-being of her guests but showcasing small businesses and supporting social enterprises are also driving forces in her approach to creating a desirable hotel brand.

Damon Lawrence
CEO, Homage Hospitality

After starting out as a front desk agent at the Thompson Hotel Group’s Donovan House Hotel in Washington, DC, Damon went on to gain hospitality experience at some of the finest industry leaders in the world. His work in management with Ritz Carlton, Dusit International, and Intercontinental Hotel Group prepared him to venture into the boutique hotel industry.

Christine Magrann
Chief Operating Officer, MAKEREADY

Christine believes that, like a garden, the success of a hotel takes hard work, respect, and time. She believes that intuitive service doesn’t come with a training manual. It is something that needs to be nurtured, practiced, and learned through experience. Her drive comes from the belief that the ability to achieve great success comes from truly taking care of her guests.

Dave Neupert
Founder, Gold-Diggers

Dave believes that success in boutique hotels relies on being independent in spirit and focuses on neighborhood-driven narratives to make experiences at his hotels unique. He embraces inclusivity over exclusivity and chooses to stock his hotels with products that represent the vision, art, and culture of the surrounding area.

Knowing the Hoteliers’ Stories Exemplifies the Boutique Experience

The daring pioneers in the boutique hotel industry have made innovations that allow travelers to experience the places they visit in a whole new way. Their commitment to involving local arts, culture, and products into the hotel experience creates an atmosphere that is unlike anything the corporate hotel industry is able to provide.

Getting to know these hoteliers on a more personal level gives a glimpse into the background, insight, and drive that led them to explore new ways to give their guests the personal attention and unique hospitality experiences they desire. Whether it is a dining experience unlike any other, high-end hotel accommodations, or a chance to become immersed in an artist’s progressive vision, these individuals have provided new and fascinating paths for visitors to their destinations.

BLLA is proud to be affiliated with these hoteliers. We endeavor to be a launching pad for adaptations to the hospitality industry that revolutionize the way travelers see the world. Their commitment to one-of-a-kind experiences and luxury amenities is the force behind the boutique hotel trend that has forever changed the way we see the places we stay when we’re away from home.

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