WHAT MAKES A KIMPTON HOTELS & RESTAURANTS PROPERTY
Over the past 20 years, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has grown to include 34 hotels and
28 restaurants in San Francisco; Portland, Ore.; Seattle and Tacoma, Washington;
Denver and Aspen, Colo.; Chicago; Salt Lake City; Washington, D.C.; Whistler
and Vancouver in British Columbia.
In each location, the combination of boutique, four-star service and adjacent
destination restaurant has proven to be a great success.
Bill Kimpton, the man credited with this concept, laid a strong foundation
for focusing on his guests' comfort, first and foremost. Combining this
philosophy with his financial acumen, he launched a powerful combination.
"My theory is, no matter how much money people have to spend on big, fancy
hotels, they're still intimidated and unsettled when they arrive," Kimpton
often said. "So, the psychology of how you build restaurants and hotels
is very important. You put a fireplace in the lobby and create a warm,
friendly restaurant and the guest will feel safe."
Affordability is another key to Kimpton Hotels' success. Room rates range
from under $100 - $195, single or double -- 25 to 30 percent lower than
comparable hotels in the respective markets.
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is able to offer such affordable rates by keeping the investment
cost per room low. Following Bill's lead, the company negotiates a good
deal on a sound older building and then renovates it with the emphasis
on guest room comfort rather than high overhead amenities such as fancy
fountains or excessive "brass and glass."
Kimpton's imaginative approach to lodging stemmed from his own experience
as an investment banker with Lehman Brothers (now Shearson Lehman Brothers,
Inc.) In Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, he built his banking reputation
by working with a number of emerging companies. For example, he helped
Kentucky Fried Chicken expand from a $2 million operation to one eventually
sold for $275 million. He was involved in the founding meetings for Hospital
Corporation of America, which is now, 25 years later, a $6 billion company.
When Harry Helmsley wanted $23 million to renovate New York's Palace Hotel,
he contacted Bill Kimpton, who raised the money in $1 million increments
-- an achievement unprecedented then and still remarkable today. Kimpton
also handled the financing for the exclusive Kapalua Bay resort Hotel
in Maui and brought in the Rockefeller family's RockResorts to manage
Kimpton's properties reflect their founder's personal style. Like the
trademark multi-color sweaters he always wore, each of the hotels and
the restaurants is warm and inviting with a distinct theme and personality
of their own. Hotel lobbies are furnished with the emphasis on comfort,
not waiting. The trademark cozy fireplaces and plushly furnished conversation
areas make Kimpton's lobbies a favorite gathering place for guests, especially
since complimentary wine is served there each evening. The first-class
guest rooms are stylishly decorated in cheerful colors. Elegant bedspreads
and drapes, thick carpeting and handsome furniture make them feel like
a guest room at a friend's home instead of a generic room. All have such
convenient amenities as stocked honor bar/refrigerators, writing desks
with good lighting, direct dial, two-line telephones, and color TV.
A high degree of personalized service and numerous complimentary amenities
are also hallmarks of Kimpton's hotels. For example, the hotels feature
some or all of the following complimentary services, depending on location:
limousine to the financial district, evening wine served in the lobby,
continental breakfast, coffee and tea available throughout the day. Most
hotels also offer same-day valet laundry service, room service, express
check-out and on-site parking.
One of the most notable feature of Kimpton's hotels are their restaurants.
Most of the hotels are paired with an adjacent destination restaurant
or are within close walking distance of a Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants restaurant.
"Our restaurants are run by restaurateurs," explains Niki Leondakis, Senior
Vice President, Restaurants. "We provide service to the hotel, but our
restaurants are more than a food and beverage outlet. We are a profitable,
independent, and separate business."
The proof of the restaurant division's success is evidenced by the fact
that several restaurants have been opened as "free-standing" properties,
i.e., that are not connected to a hotel. "We started out as a hotel company
that had great restaurants," Kimpton liked to note. "Now, the popularity
of our restaurants stands on its own."
Each restaurant is individually themed and features a variety of food
styles, price ranges and ambiances. From a sidewalk trattoria to a fine-dining
French restaurant, the Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants restaurants offer diners value and
quality. Many of the restaurants feature exhibition kitchens with counter
seating -- the perfect alternative for guests who are dining alone. The
restaurants repeatedly win praise from locals and food critics alike.
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