– follow –www.elblok.com
WHAT DO YOU DO AND HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
For now, I guess I developed a hotel and am figuring out how to run it! There will be more! How did I get here? I was following an Alejandro Escovedo song “Swallows of San Juan” - I took the wrong flight, ended up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, met Jose Enrique and stayed…worked it out after!
WHAT DREW YOU TO PUERTO RICO?
The people, the food, the creativity and miles of beaches…it’s great! Oh and the swallows!!!
WHAT WAS THE IDEA OR INSPIRATION BEHIND EL BLOK?
The idea behind El Blok was always based around a social experience and a personal refuge for our guests, it’s a compact city block – but by the sea! The architect Nataniel Fuster envisioned this in the form of a block of coral, penetrated by light, containing and nurturing great life. Alternatively it’s just a big block of concrete.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU MOST?
My best friend, my girlfriend, all my friends…they are my source of energy and inspiration. A wonderful collection of individuals!
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?
I think I’ve always been what I wanted to be, but then again I definitely haven’t grown up yet!
WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE IN BUILDING EL BLOK? ANY ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO ASPIRING HOTELIERS?
We faced almost every challenge possible, from contractors going bankrupt, surveyors measuring wrong, engineers making incompressible errors, permits taking forever, our bank being closed by the FDIC! The best advice I could ever give to anyone building or remodeling is: do not assume that architects and engineers know everything or how to do it. They don’t!
WHAT WOULD YOUR DREAM PROJECT LOOK LIKE?
It would be on a clear, flat piece of land and would be a beautiful, modernist sculpture with straight walls but soft and comfortable inside!
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE MOST IN THE INDUSTRY? ANYONE YOU FEEL IS REALLY PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES?
I love what Grupo Habita is doing design and architecture-wise…each hotel is so individual! I love what Liz Lambert is doing in Texas, each hotel is firmly of its place. And my friend Sean Macpherson, whose hotels are just real!
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE HOTEL IN THE WORLD?
I love the Hotel Principe Di Savoia in Milan. And the Sebel Townhouse in Sydney was a great inspiration, where the bar is the essential soul of the hotel – I practically lived there! But then the Metropolitan in London, at its prime, was just the coolest place for me!
WHAT’S THE MOST OUTLANDISH OR MEMORABLE THING YOU’VE EXPERIENCED IN YOUR TRAVELS?
Working with artists like Marilyn Manson and NIN tends to attract outlandish incidents that should remain untold, but personally ending up on a catwalk in a strip club in Manilla is definitely memorable (and maybe outlandish). To me, childhood travels around New Zealand are my most memorable travels.