Las Alcobas Napa Valley is your second hotel, after launching the acclaimed Las Alcobas Mexico City in 2010. What do you love most about it?
The views – Those facing west have the most glorious sunsets, while the east-facing views showcase the whole valley and mountains.
Walking distance from Saint Helena – You can drink in wine country and walk. You’re secluded in a resort, but then you’re walking distance from any activity you want.
The design – The landscaping, architecture, and design is a thoughtful composition. The whole feeling is a very mellow note of detail and depth. We looked at every color and texture. It’s a complex puzzle and every piece has to come together.
The luxurious comfort – There’s an artful approach to the living quarters. It envelops you and is very warm. We designed beautiful terraces with fire pits. The beds are super comfortable and lush. We hand-selected all of the stones in the bathrooms, which have Naturopathica amenities. You also have a walk-in closet and powder room.
What makes a hotel iconic?
Ultimately, they maintain a space that becomes a social hub in time. These hubs need to be cross-generational and comfortable for every single age group. In Acacia House, we’ve created that with the wrap-around porch.
How did you get started in this business?
I’m a dreamer and a very passionate individual. From an early age, I loved staying in hotels and had a romance with them. Back then, boutique hotels didn’t really exist. And grand dames – though they were celebration hotels – had a stuffiness about them.
Hotels are emotional experiences, and you need to be emotional to a certain degree to work in them. My dad was a pragmatic man and savvy businessperson, so on his suggestion, I earned a business degree first and then got my masters in hospitality management at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration.
In the late 90s, the rules were rewritten in the industry. Boutique hotels came on the market. Hotels became more artistic, but also more approachable. I started working in NYC in the hotel industry before the opportunity came to build Las Alcobas Mexico City, in a neighborhood where I was born ten blocks away.
Any advice for those who want to work in the hotel industry?
I think I’m a good hotelier because I’m not afraid of working the restaurant, picking up dirty dishes, and throwing out the trash. If chairs are not aligned, I’ll align them. Just enjoy the moment, work, do rotations, do the front desk, do the overnight shifts – that’s where you actually learn. You’ll have more tools for the future.
I feel like there’s very little pride in ownership today. I know my furniture maker, the guy who makes our sheets and towels, everyone that I can. I value relationships in a way that is from deep within. I truly enjoy it; there’s a thin line between working and playing.
What are your travel rituals?
I meditate for about 20 minutes on the plane, and put my eye mask on. I always bring more books than I read, plus I love to read The Economist.