PLAINFIELD, IL, AUGUST 8, 2018 -- With a booming economy, Americans are spending increasingly more time traveling. Luckily, when it comes to hotels, they have more options than ever, from the tried-and-true branding of large chains to smaller boutique hotels aiming to provide unique, one-of-a-kind experiences. Both options work, but offer distinctly contrasting atmospheres.
These contrasts pose challenges to renovation contractors. Construction procedures and design goals differ greatly between chain and boutique hotels. Boutiques have become synonymous with the idea of quirky cool while major chains rely upon uniform, pre-approved Property Improvement Plans (PIPs).
“The boutique hotels we’ve renovated have been designed based on inspiration and building character,” said Jose Ortiz, project manager for Cicero’s Development, Inc., one of the country’s largest hotel renovation contractors. “Chain hotels are typically prototype buildings and have a PIP that needs to be strictly adhered to for a hotel to remain in compliance with brand standards. This limits design flexibility but means the project will run faster and smoother with fewer change orders.”
PIP packages are created months in advance and all construction products have been tested to meet the chain’s standards. Construction schedules are painstakingly established with no detail omitted. In the event a chain hotel owner wants to alter the PIP it can be a long, drawn-out task to receive brand approval. There is good reason for the brand’s strict adherence to PIP specifications: the main reason travelers gravitate toward a large chain is brand recognition. Knowing exactly what they're going to get no matter what city they're in is attractive to travelers. While each location in the chain may cater to local needs, the hotel still features the same style and amenities in their suites, lobbies, signage, meeting rooms, and restaurants and lounges.

Autonomy is a major advantage held by independent boutique hotels which runs counter to the structure and nature of chain hotels. In planning a renovation, boutique hotels can factor in highly localized demographics and preferences that are consistently evolving. They are in a better position to understand and adjust to the neighborhood in which they operate, so they can make renovation decisions to take advantage of this knowledge. In addition to lodging visitors, boutique hotels can renovate with the goal of serving as local gathering places, supporting neighborhood initiatives and partnering with other businesses to ensure their community remains vibrant. 
However, all this flexibility comes with a cost. Boutique renovations are much more likely to run into problems as a good amount of the scope is customized and subject to frequent changes by the owner. Once construction starts, there may be high-end details added by the owner to give hotel guests a more luxurious experience, details that were not included in the original scope. An inexperienced contractor will quickly lose control of the renovation because of this. 
“Since most boutique hotel renovations call for one-of-a-kind designs with specialized materials, a lot of the questions may have not been answered,” says Cicero’s Ortiz. “Compared to a PIP where every detail is laid out, there is a considerable amount of additional time spent reviewing materials and how they will work with each other. Receiving the necessary spec sheets for all materials being used on the project is an administrative struggle. 
“When a problem does arise in the renovation, however, I’ve found most boutique owners are appreciative of our expertise and are open to ideas that would change the scope to solve it.”

The age of the property housing the boutique hotel, and therefore its mechanicals, can also be an issue. Boutique hotels are often in historical buildings where HVAC, plumbing and electrical are no longer functioning as efficiently as modern systems. Opening up a wall in the hotel may expose problems in wiring or piping that will need to be repaired before the renovation can continue. Depending on the city’s building code, a major renovation may also trigger an avalanche of upgrade requirements for systems that were grandfathered in or for new systems, such as fire sprinklers.
Chain hotels renovation challenges predominantly come down to decision making, explains Ortiz. “It can be a struggle to receive quick responses to questions, especially over the weekend, as the hotel’s contact person has to run it up the chain and wait to hear back. A contractor may need answers in minutes but they can take days. Delays in decision making lead to cost overruns and postponing putting guestrooms back into service.” 
To remedy this predicament, Cicero’s Development relies on open communications between its team and the property owner. This runs through the initial stage of scope planning and budgeting, to the bidding process and performing the work — all the way through to completion of the project and long after it is completed. Elements of Cicero’s open communications include a daily report identifying manpower levels, deliveries, safety, and current areas out of service. Weekly phone calls take place to discuss the overall schedule, design and operations so that all parties can work to manage issues as a team.
Hotel renovations help owners gain market share, increase guest satisfaction, drive revenue performance, and enhance profitability. While every renovation is unique, there are stark differences between renovating a boutique or chain hotel. Hiring a contractor with extensive experience in navigating those challenges is the key to profitable outcomes.

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Markham, Ontario – August 8, 2018 – “It is essential that all our properties and their activities be instantly accessible on one PMS system for our destination service agents. Maestro Multi-Property Management does a great job of connecting the different pieces of our business, the Spa, front desk, and food and beverage outlets. It all comes together on one system to support personalized experience that is essential for our Forbes rating,” says Mary Arcuri, Group Director of Reservations and Revenue for Ocean House Management.

“We call our reservations team ‘destination services’ because they take reservations for all services and activities for our properties on one property software system,” Arcuri added. Ocean House Management operates four properties. The Ocean House earned Forbes’ Five-Star designations for each of its hotel, spa and restaurant operations and a AAA Five-Diamond rating.  

Exceptional training and ease of use boost productivity

“Training and staff productivity are important for multi-property operators. My team commented how easy it is to learn and navigate our Maestro Multi-Property System. It is easy to find the information you need to answer questions quickly and provide personal service,” said Michelle Miller, Director of Revenue for Lais Hotel Properties Ltd, which represents Vintage hotels and Niagara’s Finest Hotels with a total of 11 properties. “We programmed room descriptors, color codes, packages and text in our property software describing amenities for all our hotels. When guests call our service representatives we can describe our rooms in a natural, unscripted way from looking at Maestro. We can quickly scan their history to see which room they had before. These subtle things add up to an exceptional guest experience.”  

“In the area of training, Maestro’s multi-property, multi-module integration is effective and efficient,” Arcuri said. “Maestro’s online eLearning and webinars make it easy for staff to learn the system on their own time schedule.  We can hire and train a guest service agent for one hotel, and they can easily move to another property since our hotels all use the same Maestro multi-property software system.”

VIDEO: Leading operators discuss the importance of sound technology

A feature rich, easy to use technology solution is essential to profitable property operations. Click here to listen in on a group of full-service independent operators discuss what system features are most important to their properties. 

Multi-property reporting = standardized data delivery, smooth guest journey

“My focus is to protect company revenue. Maestro tracks our revenue effectively and lets me drill down to learn how guests generate our revenue. Maestro is a solid system that manages all areas of our business,” Miller said. “Guests can book rooms, meals, and spa appointments at any of our properties and they will appear on their confirmation, itinerary and their folio. Maestro integrates with our point of sale system so we can even drill down and view charges on their restaurant check. This enables us to provide a seamless guest experience. Maestro Multi-Property has been huge for us.”

‘Their product is superior because their service is superior’

“It’s not just about the system, it is about the people behind the scenes that deliver that system to you,” said Chris Shroff, owner of Seaside Properties with six destinations in South Carolina. “Maestro’s product is superior because their service is superior. Service, courtesy, and friendliness, Maestro has all these qualities when we call them.”

Warren Dehan, Maestro PMS President, said, “Maestro is really a service company that provides very good technology for independent operators. We understand hospitality is a 24/7 business, and it doesn’t matter how good your system is, hoteliers will call for help. We pride ourselves on always having a person respond to a support call.”

The Maestro Property Management System delivers flexible and scalable deployment options with an identical full-featured web browser or windows solution available in the cloud or on premise.  Maestro’s revenue-generating hotel management software tools and services increase profitability, drive direct bookings, centralize operations, and provide personalized and mobile guest service tools to enhance the guest experience. Click here for more information on how to engage and socialize with Maestro PMS.


Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) adds five new properties to its portfolio of luxury boutique hotels this August. Enjoy laid back luxury at two new island properties in Thailand and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, or a stylish city break in Norway. Improve your golf swing and take in the views in Switzerland or indulge in the tranquility of a resort and spa in Italy. These properties offer luxury on their own terms, ensuring independently spirited travelers create unforgettable moments to last a lifetime.  

Crans Ambassador, Crans-Montana, Switzerland

54 rooms from USD$318 per night inclusive of breakfast

At Crans Ambassador, the first thing to notice are the views – snow-capped in winter and sun-drenched in summer. Once you’ve torn your gaze away from the scenery, you’ll find there’s just as much to delight indoors. Plenty of natural wood and warm fabrics offer an understated, modern take on chalet style featuring large windows and private terraces overlooking the forest or the valley. In the Deluxe Suite, you can even enjoy this from the outdoor hot tub. To get a closer look, stop off at the hotel snow-sports shop, then make for the nearby ski lift. Or when the snow has melted, go in search of adventure, with everything from rock climbing and trail-running to a leisurely round of golf nearby. End your day at La Table Restaurant, where rustic Alpine dishes are served up with an ample choice of wine.

SLH Insider Tip: Wellbeing and indulgence are the focus here. The hotel spa features a gym with personal trainers on-hand to help achieve your goals, and a Performance Lab to pick up tips on improving your golf form. There’s also a heated indoor pool overlooking the valley and a number of private spa treatment rooms. 

Cape Fahn Hotel, Koh Samui, Thailand

22 rooms from USD$502 per night

Opens October 2018

Welcome to your personal piece of Thailand. Cape Fahn Hotel is set on a private island, separated from Koh Samui by a small, walkable shallow channel caressed by the tropical sun. Across the bay, people gather on popular Choeng Mon Beach, but at Cape Fahn you have the sheltered shores almost to yourself. Influenced by traditional Thai architecture, each villa has a large plunge pool complete with private sun deck and decorated with plenty of natural wood complimented by a sea-inspired color palette. Spend the day relaxing at your villa, sampling local and international dishes from the room service menu or hop on a boat or paddleboard and go exploring. Then enjoy an evening of fine dining at the Cape Fahn Hotel restaurant, followed by a drink or two under a canopy of stars.

SLH Insider Tip: The Reading Room offers the perfect location to shrug off the cares of the world with a cooling drink and a good book, exclusively for guests.

Opus XVI, Bergen, Norway

65 rooms from USD$265 per night inclusive of breakfast

Crafted by descendants of Bergan composer Edvard Grieg and named after his famed concerto, Opus XVI offers guests a modern feel immersed in the city’s rich musical heritage. Every element of this luxury city center hotel plays a part in telling Grieg’s story, with original features including marble columns and polished granite walls alongside Scandi-chic design. Individually styled rooms pair block color palettes of natural tones with subtle details such as gold-accented furniture, strokably-soft upholstery or statement lighting. Whether you choose a Classic room or the Peer Gynt suite, named for Grieg’s masterpiece, each space is as comfortable as it is contemporary. With its location on Vågsallmenningen plaza, Opus XVI puts you steps from some of Bergen’s best sights. Take in the views from Mount Floyen and the KODE art galleries or learn more about Edvard Grieg at the Opus XVI library exhibition.

SLH Insider Tip: One of the architects behind the building, which was once Bergen’s grandest bank, was the composer’s cousin. Many of the rooms and suites are named after Grieg’s masterworks, and during summer months, lunchtime piano and opera concerts bring his works to life.

The Liming Bequia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines

14 rooms from USD$542 per night inclusive of breakfast

Opens November 1st 2018

Doing nothing is an art form in Bequia (Bek-way) and is the philosophy at The Liming. Channel pure escapism in one of the nine spacious, stylish villas including one five-bedroom mansion house, each offering exquisite vistas while retaining the privacy afforded by an exclusive Caribbean island. Spend days lounging beside your private infinity pool or the refreshingly peaceful beach. Those with a thirst for adventure could board a hand-built schooner for a day trip to Mustique, or head into Port Elizabeth, with its colorful wooden houses and bustling produce markets.Then as the sun sets, return to your contemporary villa to watch the sky fill up with stars.

SLH Insider Tip: If you’ve opted for the Gingerlily five-bedroom mansion house, you’ll have your own gardens as well as a kitchen for cooking up Caribbean feasts.

Villa Neri Resort & Spa, Linguaglossa, Italy

24 rooms from USD$311 per night inclusive of breakfast

Hidden among the olive groves and fragrant pine trees of Etna Regional Park is Villa Neri, a hotel that pairs impeccable good looks with warm, personal service. This boutique spa resort takes elements of traditional Sicilian living and turns them into something fresh and contemporary. White walls and clean lines turn the spotlight onto individual details, from classic tiling to wooden flooring. Many suites have views of Etna, with extra luxuries such as in-room hot tubs, wine cabinets and fireplaces. By day, relax by the pool, or devote your time to Petra Spa. Massages and beauty therapies draw on plant essences and natural ingredients from the surrounding landscape, complemented by a sauna, Turkish bath, plunge pools and relaxation area. Venture out to explore Linguaglossa village, or head to the beach at Taormina. Then return to Villa Neri and watch the stars come out from the privacy of your personal terrace. 

SLH Insider Tip: Named after the 12 fountains dotted around the outdoor dining area, Le Dodici Fontane offers a sensory journey through the flavors and cooking traditions of Sicily. In summer, dine outside with the fragrance from the herb gardens and olive groves drifting on the air.

And in other news...

Eichardt’s Private Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand

Those looking for the best in luxury land and lake will now be spoilt for choice as Eichardt’s Private Hotel has recently acquired the region’s first premium nautical cruiser, the Pacific Jemm. The 24-metre Falcon 80 S is a welcome addition to the Eichardt’s Private Hotel offering (including the country’s most exclusive accommodation: The Penthouse). Complete with all the modern amenity one expects of the hotel experience, the lavish vessel includes four luxury suites and has at its beck and call two crew alongside Eichardt’s’ famous chef. Options for cruising include scenic daytrips to Glenorchy and a helicopter over to the West Coast for crayfish before anchoring up to cook the catch. For the truly adventurous, guests can super-charge the experience with their pick of an Aston Martin, Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, Audi R8 or Porsche 911 to race to Glenorchy before being helicoptered over the Southern Alps.

Rockliffe Hall, Durham, United Kingdom

Rockliffe Hall recently launched its latest exciting addition – Mischmasch. The ‘wonderland of curiosities’, set within one and a half acres of woodland, offers an enchanting space in which children (and big kids) can play and explore. There are six arctic pods nestled beneath the trees, an eco-adventure playground and an interactive water feature. Mischmasch gets ‘curiouser and curiouser’ as you move out of the pods and into a wide-open space featuring climbing frames, slides, tennis courts and the water feature where children can run in and out of jets of water. The centrepiece of the new development is the Looking-Glass House, a stunning addition to the hotel’s entertainment space and a perfect venue for weddings and corporate events.

Healthouse Las Dunas, Estepona, Spain

Healthouse Las Dunas welcomes guests seeking a Mediterranean sun-soaked relaxation and has recently unveiled the new restaurant FELIX. As a reinvention of the former Bistro FELIX, the new restaurant is led by chef Manuel Camisuli with a commitment to Mediterranean cuisine with Asian influence, and over 300 selections of wine. FELIX includes a bar dedicated exclusively to Japanese food under the concept “Omakase”, with exquisite dishes served by chef Jose María Viera in a ceremonial style environment. The decor provides a unique visual experience and the live music offers an enjoyable atmosphere.

Hotel Belles Rives, Antibes, France

The Hotel Belles Rives, the Art Déco jewel located on the gorgeous French Riviera, has just opened a complete beauty corner facility. The Belles Rives chooses to celebrate its brand-new beauty corner with the famous beauty brand Valmont, a family company that perfectly reflects the spirit of the place. Inheritors of the Swiss medical tradition, the brand draws incredible natural resources from its own land and within the most recent development of cellular cosmetics, in order to offer a moment of harmony in a refined environment. Elegant treatments are presented in a place that breathes art and style, creating an intimate link between wellness and expertise.


(August 1, 2018) Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H) and Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH) today announced plans to bring World of Hyatt members opportunities to enjoy loyalty benefits in many more places. The launch is targeted for the end of the year.

Hyatt, a leading hospitality company with more than 700 hotels worldwide, and SLH, a collection of more than 500 independently owned luxury hotels around the world, are working together to offer World of Hyatt members the opportunity to earn and redeem points during stays at participating SLH hotels when they book through Hyatt channels.

“This is another example of how Hyatt continues to listen to the wants and needs of World of Hyatt members and take meaningful action,” said Mark Hoplamazian, president and chief executive officer, Hyatt. “SLH’s high-end collection of boutique hotel experiences means our members will soon be able to earn and redeem World of Hyatt points in more places, including many new locations in Europe and Asia.”

“We are constantly looking for ways to add value for our many independently spirited hotels. This coming alliance with World of Hyatt does just that,” said Filip Boyen, chief executive officer, Small Luxury Hotels of the World™. “Our work together will allow World of Hyatt members to enjoy loyalty benefits across a wider choice of small independent luxury hotels. For SLH, our hotels are our brand, and we look forward to expected increased occupancy with significant exposure to the World of Hyatt program’s more than 10 million members.”

The term “Hyatt” is used in this release for convenience to refer to Hyatt Hotels Corporation and/or one or more of its affiliates.


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