Design, develop, own and operate hotels, residences, bars and restaurants.
Paligroup just announced its third property, Palihouse Santa Monica. What motivated you to head beachside for your next project and what do you hope to bring to the community…are there any new features those familiar with the brand can expect?
I didn't choose the property as much as the property chose me. As soon as I set foot in it, I knew instantly that it would suit the Palihouse brand perfectly because most of the rooms are extremely spacious and have kitchens, which are both hallmarks of the brand. In essence, Palihouse Santa Monica is going to deliver exactly what our customers would expect from us in that location. The hotel is going to offer the quintessential beach-inspired pied-à-terre along with a beautiful historic lobby, patio and gardens that will be perfect for guests and locals alike as a first stop in the morning for a breakfast meeting and the last stop on their way home in the evening for a hand crafted cocktail in front of a wood burning fireplace.
You oversee nearly every detail of Palihouse; from development, to operations and design. How do you balance it all and how do you keep your ideas fresh? Are there any decisions you like to stay out of?
Yes I do, however, in as much as everything that goes on at the company touches me on some level at some point every day, seven days a week, the bottom line is I have an exceptional team of associates. Management independence with defined protocol and accountability is the cornerstone of our corporate culture. Our EVP of Real Estate & Development and our EVP of Hotels & Branding lead the way.
What makes the Palihouse experience unique?
What we like to say is that Palihouse is not a boutique hotel and not a stylish residence, it's the very best of both.
We love Palihouse because it brings an authenticity and charm that was missing in LA for some time…do you have plans to expand to other cities?
A Miami Beach Palihotel is in the works.
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry in the past few years?
As a result of social media and internet consumer forums, I think hotels across the board have been forced to better understand their customers and deliver better product and service. This is going to continue for the foreseeable future, which is obviously a good thing for customers as a whole as well as for hoteliers that can keep up.
What’s the most outlandish request or complaint you’ve heard from a guest?
We had a certain celebrity stay with us for a few months that required parking for 8 matching white SUV's and requested that no staff look at her when she walked by them. I'm serious!
I have to ask…what’s the idea behind the windowed bathrooms at Palihouse Holloway?
Just a quirky design detail. As far as I know, we've never had a single comment about it in over 5 years.
Where would you be today if you hadn’t ended up in the hotel business?
Probably doing something in design or architecture.
Where would you be today if you had the day off?
Ideally having a boozy brunch somewhere on Abbot Kinney in Venice with my amazing girlfriend and awesome kids.
What advice can you give to budding hoteliers?
Learn the business from the ground up, be excellent at whatever you take-on and keep your eye on the prize.
Aside from your own, do you have a favorite hotel in the world?
The Bowery Hotel is my go-to NYC spot, the Soho Beach House in Miami is the perfect urban beach hang, and Hotel Macakizi in coastal Turkey is magic.