Sincerely, BLLA

The Artisans: Eric Freitas Orford

The BLLA Team sits down with Eric Freitas Orford, General Manager of The Ludlow, as he delves into his experience as a boutique hotelier. BLLA: ...

The BLLA Team sits down with Eric Freitas Orford, General Manager of The Ludlow, as he delves into his experience as a boutique hotelier.

BLLA: What is your company’s mission statement?

EFO: Although we don’t have a concrete mission statement, our intent is to always aspire to provide a genuine experience and acts of kindness to our guests. 

BLLA: How did you enter the hospitality industry?

EFO: I entered after working in luxury fashion for several years, where I was traveling the majority of my time. I fell in love with the art of hospitality and the foundation of service to provide. I saw it as a play and where people were on stage to perform. I then took a leap into the industry by leaving my fashion career and taking my first front-of-house role with Ace Hotel Group. My world opened up from there. 

The Ludlow | New York, NY

BLLA: What does “boutique” mean to you?

EFO: I think this word is very loosely used now within our world. Boutique to me stands to be a true independent business, without major national or global brands backing the hotels and supporting operating standards. Boutique for me is a startup business, where leaders and operators invent their principles and truly decide on what their hotels experience will separate them from the rest.

BLLA: How are you an artisan?

EFO: Having gone to art school in London after I graduated, I felt ashamed that maybe I gave up on the ability to create and be in a truly creative role. Now almost a decade later in my life, I realize that creating experiences for people truly is an art on its own. 

BLLA: Why do you celebrate the path of independence?

EFO: I always felt connected to the creative community. I was lucky in my life to always be surrounded by so many creative people that seemed to never be the mold within the traditional mold. When I started my search on where I wanted my hospitality path to begin, I knew that I needed to be groomed by companies that allowed me to include all my sides of myself in the workspace. I believe that in boutique hotels we value differences in people; it’s what makes this world a beautiful place.

The Ludlow | New York, NY

BLLA: What advice would you give to first-time hoteliers?

EFO: Start from the bottom and learn what all roles within the industry represent to the larger picture. It will allow you to not only become a great leader one day but to truly respect the roles of everyone within your organization.

BLLA: What would you say to hotel lenders & investors reading this?

EFO: It’s easy to invest and develop a product that’s already been replicated because you might see data that depicts it works. However, getting behind a new vision requires dreaming of something new and believing in someone. I believe that risk-takers follow their gut. Don’t be afraid to grow with someone.

BLLA: What’s next for you?

EFO: At the moment I am working on perfecting being the best within my current role. There is still so much more that I would like to explore and develop within myself as a leader and operator. I have found that sometimes the most difficult part of growing is being still and really looking within yourself to access your happiness. I am truly still dreaming, as I did when I first took this adventure to create a space that I might call my own. Currently, I am in a place where I am sourcing a business partner that might share the same ideas and the creation of a hotel that could be viewed as an institution.

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