When I was in business school, I learned that hotels are not necessarily the best business to be in. The market is fickle and very dependent on upturns and downturns. In addition, apparently a lot of hoteliers are just people who like to entertain their friends in their nice hotels -- hence they are not the most business-minded people. In other words, like restauranteurs, yoga studio owners, and people who own interesting gift shops with products made by artisans in the developing world, hotel owners are not always bottom-line oriented and therefore lose out.
But the Kimpton Hotel chain challenges this belief (first articulated by my real estate professor in business school). The Kimpton brand is a chain of boutique hotels. They seem to be everywhere now, at least in the cities that I want to go to (sorry, Lincoln!). Each one is different, but consistently fabulous -- the way you'd want in a nice brand. I've now stayed in the Hotel George and the Hotel Rouge in DC, the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge (for my college reunion -- more on that later), the Hotel Palomar in Atlanta, and now the Hotel Allegro in Chicago. They seem to be profitable, since they are growing and haven't disappeared in the recent giant recession. They are very stylish, the service is awesome, and when I check in I feel like a glamorous kind of person. And their rates are lower than what you might pay at Hyatt or similar.
But the main reason I love Kimpton is that if you are a member of their Kimpton frequent guest thingie (of which you become a member simply by signing up) you get free internet access. And, crucially, all you have to do to verify your membership status is to enter your email address. No 10-character code required. And, voila, you can spend your evening checking email. Or blogging, as the case may be.
I'm making use of said service this very minute, here in Chicago. I just saw my ABA editor and we had a swell time over drinks at the Wit Hotel. I'm creatively inspired, and so decided to share with my seven or so dedicated readers my latest insight.
Okay, I'm being bashful. Let's say 20 dedicated readers.
Check out Kimpton! They are pretty awesome.