Editorial Board

Mr. Simmel

Keith Simmel

Principal, Cooper Carry

Keith Simmel is a Principal in Cooper Carry's hospitality studio. He joined Cooper Carry in 1992, was named Associate in 2003, Associate Director in 2005 and Principal in 2008. He has worked on numerous luxury hotels, resorts and conference centers across the United States. Some of his more notable projects include The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, South Carolina, a 255-room hotel, spa and conference center that has garnered numerous awards and accolades, including a coveted 5-star award from Mobil for both the hotel and spa. The Westin Alexandria & Jamieson Condominiums. The full service hotel is located in the Carlyle development of old town Alexandria, Virginia. The 14-story, 338, 000 square foot facility consists of 320 hotel rooms, 79 luxury condominiums and approximately 18, 000 square feet of meeting space, all sitting atop 2-1/2 levels of underground parking. The luxury condominiums are configured in units ranging from studios to 3 bedrooms, each with full kitchen, laundry, and 1 to 2-1/2 baths. Most recently, Mr. Simmel has been the lead designer for a large mixed-use dual brand (Hyatt Place – Hyatt House) hotel in the historic core of Charleston. This project was especially significant due to its location in the historic district of the city, requiring extensive multi-agency reviews to validate the design alignment with historically significant King Street neighborhood. Mr. Simmel also recently completed the dual-branded Residence Inn and Courtyard Hotel as part of a larger development that included an office building, a parking deck, and two freestanding restaurants in Lake Nona, just outside Orlando, Florida. Each brand has its own identity on both the exterior and the interior of the building, while still maintaining a unifying overall design composition and material palette. The project opened Fall of 2015. Mr. Simmel has extensive hospitality renovation experience, including projects for Marriott, Starwood and Four Seasons.

Mr. Simmel can be contacted at 404-240-9534 or keithsimmel@coopercarry.com

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.