Part of our DNA from the beginning has been to create experiences. The modern traveler is always looking for real interactions and it is hard to do that if you’re sitting in a room. One thing we do is keep coffee in the lobby. Over the years, we started to spend more on bars and restaurants, which can be a social experience in itself.
You recently opened the De Witt, the first Kimpton hotel in Europe, in Amsterdam, with a second hotel in Paris scheduled to open in 2020. What went into choosing the Amsterdam location?
The InterContinental Hotels Group, our parent hotel company, had a property for sale and we thought it was a perfect fit. We shut down the hotel for a year and brought it to life.
You currently have 10 Kimpton properties in Washington. Why is the city such a strong market for you?
We went into Washington with five hotels and had our own development team. If a building is going to be a hotel, we’d rather run it versus someone else. From there, we spread into diverse locations, from Capitol Hill to Glover Park.
There is a daily, hosted wine hour at each Kimpton property. How did this idea come about?
Bill Kimpton used to keep a case of wine in his office and developed the idea of the wine hour to welcome guests to his hotel and forge a community.
Where else is Kimpton looking to grow?
Secondary markets are thirsty for boutique hotels, and we’ve had successful openings in Milwaukee and Cleveland. Our properties have a bit of a coastal vibe, which has really been well received. We have a commitment to the South and have opened the Brice in Savannah, Ga., and the Kimpton Cardinal in Winston-Salem, N.C., with a new location in Nashville and an expansion in Charlotte.
What are some of your favorite destinations?
I love a beach vacation and prefer having my feet in the sand. We just opened a property on Grand Cayman last year, and my wife is a diver, so that was a wonderful experience. The island is great for couples and kids. I think Miami has a great attitude and love to go there for a long weekend. For a leisurely weekend, Austin is a lot of fun. It’s an outdoorsy town, with nice music, food, bars and people.