WHAT DO YOU DO AND HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
I'm the Culture & Nightlife Director for the Bar Marmont and The Standard, Hollywood. I lived in NYC for nearly 12 years and spent just over 8 of those years working alongside Amy Sacco (Lot61 and Bungalow 8) and can say that a lot of what I know and understand about the art of hospitality, I learned from her. The majority of my experience was gained in nightclubs. I made the transition into hotels when I moved to Los Angeles. I find that working in hotels offers more stability and somewhat more interesting opportunities than nightclubs.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE HOTEL IN THE WORLD?
I'm not sure I would say that it's my favorite, but I recently stayed at a hotel in Baja, Mexico called Enceuntro Guadalupe Antiresort. It's this fabulous eco-friendly resort made of individual cottages that are built into the side of a hill in the wine region of Valle de Guadalupe. The views are breathtaking and the rooms are modern and simple with loads of privacy. What really won me over was the attitude of the owners and the staff; the service that they render is super straightforward while at the same time, extremely sophisticated. I mean, there is a walkie-talkie in the room where the phone would be in any other hotel--and that's how you communicate with the front desk. Oh, and did I mention they produce their own wine? So yeah, what else can I say, but...GO THERE NOW!
WHY THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY?
Funny, I didn't plan on a career in hospitality, it pretty much fell into my lap…or I fell into it. What I have learned is that I really love what I do, I love finding fun and interesting ways to entertain and take care of people. Meeting people from all backgrounds and with different points of view and backgrounds is awesome. Sharing and learning from our guests and other hotel employees is a wonderful thing too.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP
Evel Knievel. People reading this that know me will think that's crazy, but it's true. I even had the costume.
CAREER ANECDOTE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?
I once worked as a waiter in this amazing, small French bistro in downtown Manhattan. There was a lot of pressure in this restaurant the way I saw it, because all of the waiters were professional career waiters, except for me. I was a very good waiter though, and I think the chef really liked me. That is until the night that I spilled a tray full of champagne all over a table of VIPs. There was an outside garden in this restaurant, and I remember the floor of the garden was made up of really uneven stones, and I tripped on one as I approached the table…the tray went flying and drowned everyone at the table in bubbles. I mean EVERYONE! Of course, I was mortified and this one guy at the table jumped up and started screaming at me in French in front of the entire room. I retreated to the kitchen and explained to the chef what had happened, and he demanded that I run another tray of champagne to the same table. When I pleaded with him that maybe I shouldn't return to the table, he said "you're fired!" It was the one and only time I was able to say: "you can't fire me, I QUIT!"
BIGGEST CHANGE YOU'VE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY?
With competition in the industry growing naturally, it's fascinating to me to see the ways that different hotel brands attempt to differentiate themselves from the rest. We've come to see more and more groups talk about the lifestyle and culture of their brands to better identify their customer. The Standards are the first that I can think of that had a culture blog, but there are several other boutique brands that have begun to put themselves out there in that way, it's exciting. I think it's interesting to think about what kind of experience and point of view a hotel has to offer, beyond just the thread count of their Italian bed linen. Of course, thread count is important, but any hotel can (and should) have nice sheets.
Seriously? YOUR job! If I could work for A Hotel Life, traveling the world and staying in all of these amazing hotels in all these amazing places...yeah, that would be a damn good dream.
FAVORITE MINI BAR ITEM OR HOTEL AMENITY?
I'm a sucker for a nice plush bathrobe. If it's really comfy, you'll have a hard time getting me to take it off.
WHAT'S THE NEXT BIG THING IN HOSPITALITY?
Technology is taking us in the direction of a truly personalized experience. Soon we will be able to book a room, check-in, order amenities and check-out entirely on our smartphones. Has someone already figured that out? If they haven't they should.
IF YOU COULD THROW A DREAM PARTY FOR ANYONE, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE?
Salvador Dalí! It would be insanely decadent on all sides. Picasso, Hitchcock, Mae West, Federico García Lorca, Freud, and other creatives would make up the guest list. We'd find a beach that would suggest one of the beaches in his paintings for the location. We'd roast a pig and serve Lanvin chocolates for desert. And before it was all over, I would imagine that everyone would probably get naked.