Skift Take

We've heard many of these talking points before by hotel brands seeking to do exactly this. Consumers will respond if the product is good, not if it's "young" and "local."

Another year, another new luxury hotel brand. Montage Hotels & Resorts, an ultra-luxury hotel brand established in 2002, has given birth to Pendry Hotels. The newer brand, initially conceived in 2014, saw the opening of its first two properties earlier this year.

In February, the Pendry San Diego, located in that city’s Gaslamp Quarter, opened for business. The following month, the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore made its debut in the gentrifying Fell’s Point neighborhood. Slated to open next are California properties in La Quinta in 2019 (which will share a site with other properties under the Montage International umbrella) and West Hollywood in 2020.

Given that Montage only has a handful of resorts located in high-end destinations (plus a hotel in Beverly Hills, CA), why was there a need to create an entirely new brand?

According to Michael Fuerstman, Pendry Hotels creative director and co-founder (along with his father Alan, the founder and CEO of Montage), it was necessary to “bridge the gap between the lifestyle and luxury hotel spaces.” Pendry is more design-driven and fashion-forward than its parent. It’s also positioned at a slightly lower price point (nearing $300 a night in San Diego and up to $400 in Baltimore versus $600 a night for an average Montage room) and designed for a slightly younger (30 and 40-something) clientele. Additionally, Pendry may end up becoming more of an urban brand. According to Fuerstman, “We are looking at cities, both top-tier and also at pioneering neighborhoods in secondary and tertiary markets.”

Pendry, whose motto is “Know Thyself,” is aiming to give each property a distinct local flavor. For example, the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore, an adaptive reuse of a 100-year-old recreation hall, is imbued with “a local understanding of the history, culture, politics and context” of the city.

Working with Fuerstman and Baltimore-based Sagamore Development, co-owned by Kevin Plank of Under Armour fame, interior designer Patrick Sutton seasoned the property with historical footnotes and nods to the city’s culture and quirks. For example, reflecting the city’s maritime heritage, rooms are designed to feel like ship cabins. The nautically-toned rooms lean masculine in design, with plenty of brass and wood touches. Minibars are filled with local treats, like Baltimore micro-brews and Old Bay potato chips, while the entrance hall sports laser-cut lyrics to The Star-Spangled Banner, which was written in Baltimore during the War of 1812.

Bruce Baltin is managing director for the Los Angeles office of CBRE Hotels, a leading international commercial real estate services firm. Further explaining the logic behind the addition of the Pendry brand, Baltin, as quoted in the San Diego Tribune, says, “There are only a certain number of sites where you can put a Montage hotel. It requires high average room rates, so they’re expensive to build and operate, and you can’t get those rates everywhere.” Both Baltimore and San Diego are areas “where a Pendry works, but a Montage cannot.”

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Tags: luxury

Photo credit: Montage Hotels & Resorts is an ultra-luxury hotel brand established in 2002. Pictured here is the lobby of the Pendry San Diego. Montage Hotels and Resorts

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