Editorial Board   Guest Author

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 August 2020...

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.