I'm the Managing Partner with LDV Hospitality for all Food and Beverage at the Gale Hotel in Miami. We operate a restaurant called Dolce Italian, a classic cocktail bar called the Regent Cocktail Club and a basement lounge called the Rec Room.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU MOST?
Travel. I always find inspiration when I travel. Whenever I'm in a place unfamiliar to me I love to simply get lost. Walk out the door and pick a direction and find where it takes me. I'm also very fortunate to be pointed in the right direction when I travel. After so many years working in the hospitality, food and beverage world, I always get suggestions on places to visit from well informed locals, so I am able to experience what a local does when I'm in an unfamiliar place. My senses and curiosity are always at their peak when I'm traveling, and I'm always taking notes on ideas I can bring back home.
HOW IMPORTANT IS COLLABORATION AND WHO HAVE YOU ENJOYED WORKING WITH MOST?
Collaboration is paramount in the success of our business. It helps foster the exchange of ideas and make people question, inspire, challenge and provoke each other. It helps expose the blind spots we have in our own vision and philosophy, and inspires us to keep on pressing to be better and keep searching for inspiration. Collaboration guarantees growth and pushes us to make ourselves and our business better. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the La Clique/Le Baron crew from Paris. They are a breath of fresh air, constantly pressing the boundaries and doing it with laughter and joy. They make the unconventional make sense… I love how I feel when working with them.
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE MOST IN THE FIELD OF HOSPITALITY AND WHY?
Tough, tough, tough…So many to admire for so many different reasons. If I had to choose one I would have to say André Balazs. I am constantly in awe of how his properties are able to evoke a feeling. Every time I walk into a Balazs property I am immediately transported to a calmer and happier place. I admire how his properties make you feel something different, which in turn peak your senses…everything just smells, looks and tastes a bit more vibrant. I especially love how Chateau Marmont and The Standard Miami make me feel.
DID YOU ALWAYS HAVE A DESIRE TO WORK IN HOSPITALITY OR WAS IT SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED NATURALLY?
Naturally. It's always been in my blood and it's the only profession I have ever worked in. It is most certainly not for everyone and it can eat you alive. It is not a profession, it is a lifestyle. Working with people has always made me the most comfortable. My greatest high is making people happy, to help create memorable moments for them. We reflect upon on our lives with our memories, both positive and negative. We work in a business to create positive ones, and making those happen for people has always been my greatest joy. To know we can have an impact on someone that will be everlasting is something that inspires me daily, and I know it's an addiction I will never tire from.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THE YOUNG GUNS STARTING OUT IN THE INDUSTRY?
PAY YOUR DUES! We are living in an age of instant gratification. Today's young guns have to remember that horizontal leads to vertical…so cover your bases. Everyone is always in such a rush to get to the top they forget how important it is to have a stable foundation. We need to remember that success is in the details and if your moving to quickly you will over look the important things that will give you the foundation to have long term success. Take your time, ask questions, never pretend to know something you don't, surround yourself with people you respect, don't ever be scared to get your hands dirty, lead by example, be humble, have thick skin and remember its a very small community and you will certainly cross paths with the same people over and over again, so be mindful of your actions. Never forget to be courteous and professional, support your community and always take the high road…
WHAT'S THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU'VE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY IN THE PAST FEW YEARS?
The impact of social media…For good and for bad. It's great to spread information, bad for losing the importance of personal touch. There needs to be a balance. We are losing sight of what is truly important…social media is making the personal, impersonal. We need to remember the value of tailor-made experiences whilst utilizing all the good that technology can provide.
WHAT WOULD YOUR DREAM PROJECT BE?
To be the host of a travel show.
DO YOU HAVE A HOTEL ANECDOTE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? (I KNOW YOU HAVE A FEW!)
Loose lips sink ships.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE NEXT BIG THING IS IN HOSPITALITY?
Community destinations. I think in the world of complete interconnectivity, we will see destinations that are more niche than ever. There will be more and more places that an individual will go to stay with like minded or similar career driven people. They will be like mini-permanent hubs that people will congregate at to network, find inspiration and work, while also playing. We now rely on annual festivals and conventions to find these gathering places, but I believe we will see an explosion of community-themed destinations. Think places that are themed for artists, musicians, writers, health nuts, tech nerds, foodies, etc.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE HOTEL IN THE WORLD?
So many for so many different reasons but if I had to say one today…Petit Ermitage in West Hollywood. What an inspirational place to be! It transports you to a place where you are comfortable to be uncomfortable. It's thought provoking, weird in all the best ways and their attention to detail is spot on! A place in LA where you don't go to "see and be seen" and has a hint of magic floating in the air.