Proper Hospitality is itself a new hotel and lifestyle company that just launched in January [click here for our story]. Brad Korzen, CEO and founder of Proper Hospitality, was the original CEO/founder of the Viceroy Hotel Group, which he departed in 2012. Meanwhile, Korzen’s parent Kor Group company owns and manages various real estate projects and hotel assets including the two Avalon Hotels.
In 1999, the first property that Korzen redeveloped as a Kor project was the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills. First built in 1949 within the tony L.A. residential neighborhood, the 84-room boutique hotel has been a mainstay for Hollywood stars and scenesters going back to the days of Marilyn Monroe.
It was during the Kor takeover when Korzen first met Kelly Wearstler. They eventually married and Wearstler advanced quickly among interior design circles based on her sophisticated marriage of modern/retro motifs defining Viceroy’s early design brand standards.
The 67-room Avalon Hotel Palms Springs, which is transitioning from a Viceroy property, originally opened as the Estrella Inn in the 1930s. With 13 private villas and three pools, the iconic downtown Palm Springs hotel helped propel the discreet desert community into a hush-hush refuge for Hollywood celebrities and A-listers seeking escape from public glare.
As of now, the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills website is available for booking online. The Avalon Hotels brand site is scheduled to launch around the end of the month, when the Avalon Hotel Palm Springs will be available for bookings for travel beginning April 7.
“Although it’s been 15 years, we think that the original vision for the Avalon brand has a massive amount of untapped potential today in Beverly Hills, Palm Springs and beyond,” says Korzen. “Under the new Proper Hospitality management company, we have a chance to take two of our favorite hotels back, align them under the Avalon name, and roll out a series of exciting improvements that will set the stage for the future expansion of the brand.“
Presently, there are few details about what those “exciting improvements” actually include. We’re told that both properties are undergoing guest room and public space refurbishments in collaboration with Kelly Wearstler Interior Design, and both properties will have new food and beverage and wellness programming.
The big picture here, when so many big brands are moving into the lifestyle segment, is a return to the original concept that once defined what a boutique hotel actually is.
The Avalon Hotels are both under 100 rooms with a rich tapestry of stories particular to their destination developed over a period of time. They have experience and history and secrets that contribute to the social fabric of the community, along with architectural elements and design features that provide a true sense of place and what once was.
Almost any small hotel these days can claim to be local and lifestyle-oriented. But it’s these indie hospitality companies like Proper Hotels, Avalon Hotels, and a growing collection of others that represent the last bastion of classic boutique hotel experiences in terms of personality and style.
Greg Oates covers hospitality and tourism development. Email him at email@example.com.