Unique Traditions Of General Managers Before The Grand Opening of A Property
Major cities across the country are filled with upscale hotels, restaurants, and clubs all with the intent to generate revenue
Major cities across the country are filled with upscale hotels, restaurants, and clubs all with the intent to generate revenue and keep guests coming back. But, doing so takes more than just wanting it, they have to make it happen. It's the people behind the scenes who are responsible for taking action toward the location's success and one person, in particular, the General Manager, must call the shots and generate the positive energy leading up to the grand opening.
Many of us have heard of superstitions, traditions, and other habits implemented by the person in charge to feel good about the coming business. And, CELEB got insight from General Managers across the country who oversee hospitality services in cities including Detroit, New Orleans, and New York City about their quirky traditions for a promising grand opening.
Walker Hotels – New York City
Walker Hotels has locations in Greenwich Village and Tribeca, perfectly placed for visitors of the Big Apple or those looking for an effortless staycation. Each property kindly reflects the history and community of the neighborhoods they reside in through programming and design.
Peter Yeung, Managing Director of Walker Hotels NYC shared his ritual before opening a hotel saying, "I like to get familiar with the new layout and space of the property. My tradition has always been sketching out a floor plan so it is better ingrained in my mind before I take the helm and move into the hotel, so to speak. More recently, I have made sketching a family affair by asking my two young daughters to help me and chime in on how to outfit the space with furniture. My girls feel valued and that sketch turns into a piece of art that I hang in my office post-opening."
Gansevoort Meatpacking – New York City
General Manager, Anton Moore, of Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC is inspired by fashion and his grand opening tradition involves an eye-catching turquoise Tom Form jacket. Moore explains, "To me, there is nothing like wearing a beautifully designed piece to make you feel confident. This one jacket, in particular, I choose to wear for hotel launches because turquoise represents calm, compassion, and communication – three important attributes that are required when opening a hotel. The fine tailoring and fit mimics the luxury experience I want the guests to feel while enjoying our property. I once worked for a hotel brand that told us to prepare for each workday as if you are preparing for a first date. There is nothing more invigorating than a first date or an opening of a brand-new elevated hotel or product experience."
In 2021, the Gansevoort underwent a multimillion-dollar rebrand and renovation, solidifying its place in the luxury market. The 186-room hotel is an icon in the Meatpacking District of NYC, a hub for fashion, design, culinary excellence, and the arts. It features a full-service ground-floor restaurant, a year-round rooftop bar and restaurant, a 45-foot heated outdoor pool, and indoor and outdoor space that stuns guests with a 360-degree unobstructed view of the Manhattan skyline.
Dawn Ranch – California
The historic Dawn Ranch has hosted travelers from San Francisco and around the globe since opening in 1905 and continues to be a serene getaway for reconnecting with nature through its outdoor activities, residing close to the famous Redwoods. It withholds 53 chic cedar-topped individual cabins with access to wide open meadows, wooded nature trails, and lush gardens that supply to the on-site restaurant.
It's hidden away on the banks of the Russian River in Sonoma County, less than a 90-minute drive from both San Francisco and Nappa Valley.
Teach Mayer, General Manager of Dawn Ranch shared, "I love listening to the stories and legends about the property. It helps me visualize how people have experienced this place in the past – and use that as a starting point for imagining our future. I set aside time each day to mindfully walk the property and feel into the energy the spaces hold. It’s not unusual for me to spontaneously sit down and meditate in a space to fully immerse myself. What makes this place special? How can that be enhanced? Feeling into the experience of the space as it was, as it is, and the possibilities it holds for the future."
Shinola Hotel – Detroit
The luxury boutique experience brought to guests by the Shinola Hotel was carefully designed by Shinola and Gachot Studios to reflect Detroit's historic architecture and industrious aesthetic. The hotel offers guests from near and far a slew of dining options for enjoying a meal or a few drinks – San Morello, an upscale Italian restaurant; Evening Bar, the elegant cocktail lounge; The Brakeman, a lively beer garden; and Mr. Dips, a delicious creamery.
When referring to positive habits prior to opening, Sergio Maclean of Mac&Lo Hospitality and Operators of Shinola Hotel says, "We’ve opened about five hotels and a few restaurants and it’s never the same. The one thing we always try to do is go dark for a day right before opening. A means of turning off before we have to be completely turned on – a self-prescribed calm before the storm, if you will. We try to give the entire team a day off before we open as well. If possible we even set up a little pre-opening party too. This is always great for us and the team because it gives us a moment to step away from the chaos and look at all the work we’ve done thus far before the craziness of opening."
Maison de la Luz – New Orleans
"Teamwork and fellowship are two important components for the success of any hotel and that camaraderie, I would argue, is more apparent in the state of Louisiana," states Brian Englehart, General Manager of Maison de la Luz in NOLA. He continues, "It just has a way of bringing people together. One tradition that is special to me is putting together a crawfish bowl for my team and their families. There is no one from Louisiana that does not cook their crawfish so before opening, I invite everyone over and have two 40 lb sacks. When we opened Maison de la Luz in 2019, my son was 18 and helped with cooking, which made it even more special. The recipe to the hotel’s success is my crawfish boil – pun intended."
The elegant experience when staying at Mason de la Luz includes significant concierge service, an exclusive stay in a lighthouse, and an intimate amount of people with just 67 replenished suites available. The guest house is another location on the property home to Bar Marilou. Here, guests can enjoy a decorated cocktail lounge with satisfying drinks and bites to eat.