I am sorry it has been so long since my last post. Another crazy summer is finally starting to slow down. Like many of you, we sent our kids back to school last week!
It amazes me how much they drive our lives, from how we look at the world, to our own schedules and even down to how we think about different products. When we travel, if we can win over our small guests, it is amazing how their parents will come along with them.
I was recently reminded of this on a flight back from the West Coast. I was talking to the woman sitting next me, who was telling me about her recent stay at The James Royal Palm with her husband and two young children. Before I told her my involvement with it, she was effusive about their visit and what a great experience it was. On the top of her list was the Lil’ James program!
It was so wonderful, she said, and such a comfortable place to be at with kids. Usually in South Beach, kids are the last thing you hear about—it is almost always the restaurants, nightclubs and celebrity sightings. But according to this mom, The James was memorable because it was a sanctuary in the middle of all the madness.
Mission accomplished! That defines our approach to the boutique business, our art of hospitality. We’ve always shunned the velvet rope mentality. Luxury boutique doesn’t have to mean ultra exclusive. You may see movie stars dining at the Florida Cookery, or find yourself dancing at SL Miami next to someone you just read about on Page 6, but we go out of our way to make sure everyone feels welcome, down to our tiniest guests.
It is why we launched the Lil’ James program and my new friend was all the proof I needed to know it is working better than we imagined. The amenity program provides fun activities and distractions for the kids, as well as all the necessities parents may need to take care of the little ones, freeing them up to enjoy the adult playground that South Beach can be.
We don’t need a special program to provide this hospitality. We go out of our way to make sure everyone feels welcome at all our properties. I was reminded of that when I read on this site what Betsy Aguino did earlier this summer at the Affinia Dumont. On her own, she bought flowers, a birthday card and some friendship bracelets for a young guest who was staying at the hotel on her birthday. Before that, there was a story of a little girl who turned seven while staying at The Benjamin, who said she enjoyed “the very bestest birthday ever!” because of our hospitality.
I love hearing these stories because I know what those things mean to the parents. I am the father of triplets. I completely understand how much better life is when the kids are taken care of. When I travel, as much as I may enjoy a hotel or destination, if my kids are miserable, I can guarantee I am not going to be happy, either.
Thanks for making parents happy at all our hotels. I guarantee those moms and dads will come back and stay with us again. Their kids won’t let them forget how much fun they had.