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Do you have a favorite hotel in the world?
It changes all the time but I truly admire the bravery of the Ace Hotel in New York. I think that it really pushes the concept of inclusivity to a completely different level.
Why the hotel business?
Travel is the most complex form of product to create and sell. It is very capital intensive and involves design, gastronomy, mixology, human alchemy, crowd/customer curating and real artistry through experience creation. I think that it is one of the most underrated art forms that there is and we are proud to play a part in creating events that celebrate the creativity and courage of the people involved in this process.
Biggest change you've seen in the industry?
The biggest positive is that people have gradually understood that the old rules needed to be broken and that the future lay firstly in creating surprising and innovative hotel concepts that will surprise their clients, and secondly in curating their crowd just like a nightclub. This is a huge part of the added emotional value of the hotel proposition.
Favorite mini bar item or hotel amenity?
A hangover cure kit is always a smart idea.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into the Lifestyle Hotel Industry?
Being hospitable is both a talent and a gift. If you are not the kind of person who throws parties at your house or loves the artistry of organising a good dinner party, this job is not for you. But if you are, just be as generous as you can with your guests by providing them with the service and experience that they never knew they always wanted.
Is the world ready for LE Miami?
Absolutely. The world has been craving LE Miami for 15 years. The traditional concept of luxury travel based on silver service and old money ceremonial has been broken for a long time. Luxury travellers used to be of the same type: white, Anglo Saxon, Protestant and conservative. The new luxury traveller comes in many forms. He did not inherit his money, he made it by being a risk taker in his business. He is therefore also a risk seeker in his consumption habits. The new ruling class, in terms of affluence and influence, is now made of people who are innovators and creative (aren't we all thanks to digital technology!) and wants to find products that will excite and surprise. Luxury travel was all about changes; contemporary travel (that is what we call this new movement) is about embracing changes. Luxury travel was about segregation through money; contemporary travel is about segregation through style.
What inspires you most?
Steve Jobs is definitely an inspiration for many reasons. Instead of building a tech company he created a lifestyle company and a movement by making everything he did so human, intuitive, simple and beautiful to use, touch and feel. He was also bold in everything he did, smashing the category in every product he launched rather than simply enhancing the products of the competition. His principles can be applied to many industries, including ours.
World's next hot destination?
When things calm down, Beirut will be phenomenal. It is edgy, culturally charged and has great nightlife. I also think that Cuba when it opens up will be huge. Basically, places with energy and an edge.