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 December 2019...

Hotel Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.