We caught up with Tommy Hilfiger, American fashion designer and hotelier who recently bought the iconic Raleigh in Miami’s South Beach. Here’s what he had to say to A Hotel Life...
TOMMY, GREAT TO HAVE YOU ON THE SITE. SUCH AN ICONIC AMERICAN DESIGNER, AND NOW THE RALEIGH, A TRULY ICONIC AMERICAN HOTEL. WHAT’S THE PLAN?
The plan with the Raleigh is to bring back a real sense of beauty and glamor to South Beach...a private club similar to Soho House where guests can enjoy privacy and exclusivity, now that finally Americans are comfortable with the concept of a private club.
YOU’VE TRAVELED THE GLOBE, STAYED IN SOME OF THE GREATEST HOTELS IN THE WORLD. ANY FAVORITES AND WHY?
The Peninsula in Beverly Hills; I love it for its old world charm. Also the Peninsula in Hong Kong. The Carlyle in New York, of course; The Savoy in Florence, so properly positioned; and of course Claridges in London for its old world flavor.
WHO’S DOING IT WELL? WHAT’S WORKING IN THE HOTEL / TRAVEL INDUSTRY?
Andre (Balazs) you’d have to agree is one of the best hosts in the world and I love what he’s done at Chiltern Fire House. I of course have a tremendous respect for Ian (Schrager) and how he pays attention to detail. It’s incredible to see how he’s evolved over the years. Commendable. I of course remember the Studio 54 days.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN FASHION AND TRAVEL?
I use the acronym FAME: Fashion, Art, Music, Entertainment. We live in an exciting time where our lives are determined by pop culture; whether it’s travel or fashion - we’re always looking for a sophisticated lifestyle brand to connect with.
IF YOU COULD HOST THE PARTY OF A LIFETIME FOR ANYBODY, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE?
The party would of course be at the Raleigh, Bowie would be performing and it would feel like an old Black and White ball like they used to have at the Plaza. Guests would include Warhol, Capote, Basquiat, Sinatra, Jagger, Holsten, Liza Minnelli, it would be exciting and unpredictable like Studio 54. Diana Ross and Bob Dylan would of course be there.
CAN WE COME?
Yes of course. (Phew… wouldn’t want to miss that one!)
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR GREATEST INSPIRATION?
My greatest inspiration comes from iconic America. From Jackie Kennedy to Warhol; from New York, LA, Miami, Aspen through the years; from Rock and Roll and Hollywood. It also comes from the power of brands like Apple, Google and Instagram. I’m also a real anglophile, so always inspired by what’s happening in British culture. I’m also a real foodie and am inspired by the Italian lifestyle.
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU LOOK FOR IN A HOTEL?
The decor, service, location and food are very important as well as like-minded guests. Because we’re all quite jaded these days, I think the hoteliers that are most particular are the most successful.
WHAT’S THE BEST THING YOU’VE EVER STOLEN FROM A HOTEL ROOM? (IT’S OK, WE ALL DO IT).
A corkscrew from Blakes in London.
WHAT’S YOUR DREAM ADVENTURE (OURS IS OBVIOUSLY A DARJEELING LIMITED TYPE ADVENTURE).
I love yachting so I think it would be to sail around the world.
FAVORITE MINI BAR ITEM? #IMPORTANTSTUFF
The Chocolate covered almonds from the Beverly Hills Hotel.