– follow Nicole –www.eatthecityny.com
What Do you do?
I'm in Real Estate and Hotel Development, and am also getting my Masters at NYU. I seek opportunities where others don’t and try to facilitate relationships for hotel brands to collaborate, grow, and evolve. Just like the fashion industry hotel brands must stay relevant. Expansion in targeted regions and alignment with like-minded companies can help hospitality brands achieve this. I am also assisting in the planning, branding, and execution of one of the largest real estate development projects in South America.
Do you have a favorite hotel in the world?
It’s really hard to choose a favorite because each hotel I have stayed at is unique; but, as I see it, a hotel is much more than the sum of its parts, it is the memories it leaves you with. For this reason I would have to choose the iconic Excelsior Lido in Venice where I spent my childhood summers, where my sister was married, and where some of my greatest friendships were formed. It also has some of the best pasta in the world!
YOU HAVE AN INCREDIBLE PASSION AND APPETITE FOR TRAVEL, WHERE DOES THIS COME FROM?
I am a people person. I am genuinely interested in different people, what/how they eat, how/where they live, their passions, their family dynamic, their taboos, the language they speak, etc. I think traveling opens up a window into other people’s reality. It is empathy in the ultimate sense. Not only can you converse and build relationships with different people when you travel, but you can actually live like them and immerse yourself in their culture and lifestyle. Traveling gives me a basis for comparison, fosters my creativity, inspires, and motivates me.
WHO DO YOU MOST ADMIRE IN THE HOSPITALITY WORLD?
I admire the hotel staff. A hotelier most entrust their staff with the task of executing their vision for a guest. The staff is the key to a hotel’s first and lasting impression. Although I absolutely look up to the visionaries behind various hotels, without each on-site staff member, the hotels as we know them would not exist. It is the staff manning a hotel that actually translates and represents its essence to the hotel guests. They are the hosts in hospitality and I tremendously admire their pride and dedication to carrying out a hotelier’s vision.
WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES A GREAT HOTEL?
A great hotel is contextual and authentic. It doesn’t remove you from your surroundings but transports you deeper into the culture, aesthetic, architecture, service, and tastes of its locale. It should smell, look, and feel right. It offers the whole package in its venue and leaves a lasting impression in your mind even after you leave. A great hotel should inspire you to explore but also leaves you feeling quenched.
IF YOU HAD THE DAY OFF TODAY WHERE WOULD YOU BE?
I would be hanging out on Aporador Beach in Rio de Janeiro with some fresh coconut water and a cold acai bowl. It’s not overly glamorous or secluded, but it is exactly what it should be. A place where you overhear local conversations, smell the tropical native scents, feel the heat of the sun, and watch surfers passing by against a mountainous backdrop…you cannot mistake that you are anywhere else but Rio. I appreciate destinations that are unmistakable.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?
I wanted to be a spy or a ninja... and I'm not saying it didn't work out, only that both professions allow for generous vacations.
DO YOU HAVE A HOTEL ANECDOTE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?
The most memorable experience I have had at a hotel was definitely at the Musiciara Siracusa in the small town of Syracuse, Sicily. I planned to stay at this “boutique hotel” that I had discovered online but when I arrived to angry faces, dark corridors, and messy rooms I knew it would not do. I had to improvise and by chance found the Musciara, a hidden and absolutely spectacular 14 room gem located on its own private beach behind a big limestone wall. The owners, three generations of strong Sicilian women dressed only in bikinis, greeted me upon arrival and showed me their perfectly curated boutique hotel with pride. They offered me a homey room, delicious local food, and a beautiful private beach. This was hospitality at its finest.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MINIBAR ITEM / AMENITY?
My favorite minibar item has to be an old school yo-yo at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica. It's just silly and fun, and it showed that the hotel considered it as vital as a bottle of water.
WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN THE INDUSTRY IN THE PAST 10 YEARS AND WHY?
I think there has been a lot more integration and collaboration between hospitality and other industries. Industries like fashion, art, music, nightlife, and food are all coming together with hotels to deliver a comprehensive and more immersive product that fully represents the scope of an area’s offerings and a hotel’s distinct brand. Hotels are no longer exclusively for travelers but they are a place for locals as well. I also think hotels are going back to basics in the way we have recently seen restaurants do. There was a period in both industries where it was about over the top luxury, abundance, molecular gastronomy if you will, and almost a theatrical experience. Now people crave authenticity and simplicity. You can still visit a lot of gaudy lavish hotels and they just seem out of place, there is a way to maintain elegance without overloading you or compromising authenticity.
WHAT'S YOUR DREAM JOB?
My dream job involves curating experiences for travelers around the world. Although I have a vision for my own brand of hotels, I also want to create a dialogue between locals and travelers to open doors and opportunities around the world for people to get the most of their adventures and accommodations.