Looking for inspiration?
I have three items I want to share today. I hope one speaks to you.
1. I received a press release about a new hotel restaurant set to open later this year in the Royal Sonesta in New Orleans. What I find so intriguing is the social media component set up by the chefs and their marketing team, no doubt.
Chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto will open Restaurant R?evolution?their first joint project under new restaurant group, Home on the Range?and serve reinterpretations of classic Cajun and Creole cuisine.
They have set up an amazing blog updated at least weekly, offering a behind-the-scene, real-time look at their pre-opening journey. They explain in detail about their menu decision-making process and illustrate it with great pictures. For example, you get to see a mock up of their signature cheese board, as well as cheese carts and knives under consideration. The details are presented so beautifully and personally.
Big bouquets. So well done. You must check this out to see how to do social media right.
2. I read on industry blogs last week about an interesting move made by the Le Parker Meridien hotel in New York City. As part of a Valentine’s Day promotion that received more publicity than the hotel was expecting, it marketed a small number of rooms by the hour.
With a nudge, nudge, and a wink, wink, the hotel was offering rooms from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for US$150, according to Hotelchatter.com. For US$250 you could upgrade and get “champagne, strawberries with whipped cream and an on-demand adult film of your choice.”
Ok, gentle readers. Don?t be offended. What do you think? Why don?t more hotels offer midday hourly rates?perhaps a bit less overtly and not necessarily for trysts?to generate ancillary income? There has to be a reason this does not make sense.
Can someone explain, or at least offer some thoughtful, if not hilarious, responses.
3. This one is just for the record. On too many occasions I read that Ian Schrager is the pioneer of the boutique hotel movement. The latest example is a story in the Wall Street Journal.
While I love what Ian has done for the hotel industry and think he is mostly responsible for the industry finally stepping out to create lifestyle hotels as opposed to stodgy boxes, in my humble opinion the man who should be called the father of the boutique/lifestyle hotel is Bill Kimpton, who struck out on his own in 1981 when he bought his first hotel in San Francisco.
Kimpton opened the Clarion Bedford Hotel in San Francisco in 1981 and became the first hotel company to feature a complimentary nightly wine hour. In 1983, Kimpton?s Hotel Vintage Court became the first themed hotel, again establishing a wine emphasis. Schrager opened his first hotel in New York City, Morgans, in 1984.
The founder of Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group, San Francisco, Kimpton was well known for bringing in celebrity chefs to operate the F&B component attached to his smaller, unique hotels. For example, in 1989 he brought in Wolfgang Puck to run Postrio at the Prescott Hotel in San Francisco.
So, just for the record and with no disrespect for the ever-creative Ian Schrager: Kimpton deserves the credit for being the true father of the boutique/lifestyle hotel movement, and I even found a quote where Schrager says Kimpton served as an inspiration.