"All good hotels tend to lead people to do things they wouldn't necessarily do at home."
Some stories have no beginning or end arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead. The Hospitality Industry has been ripe with those tales passed on as lore started in basements in the wee hours of the mornings as operators that's what we called ourselves before the more formal "Hotelier" vernacular was bandied about. We were shooting craps with the kitchen crew, and perhaps a few specially vetted guests were invited down from the clubs or their suites and invited to engage in activities that we considered to be an "extra' amenity to our VIP guests & patrons. Staff today would no doubt be dismissed for entertaining the ideas that the early Luxury Hotelier considered his or her duty to offer such an accommodation to fit the needs of their guests.
Living through the landscape change of what was & more importantly what came to pass, indeed became our history. Our rivalry between West Coast and East Coast Indie Hotel markets rivaled the turf wars that Hip Hop was on the precipice of entering. Racing to open the first South of Market indie Hotel with a bar that stopped serving booze at 2am in glasses but kept dancing till the sun came up. Serving the "approved crowd" spirits in a tea cup was akin to MC REN getting Gangsta Gangsta released and cemented the West Coast's presence in the nation's rap scene. However, we felt charged with a public trust to offer albeit abbreviated, an introduction in the form, content, attitude, design and consciousness that reshaped our industry and had delivered upon us the children, heirs, bastards & step-children that have invaded the Boutique Hotel Landscape. Our new clients and we're not talking guests...developers & designers often tell us that the beginnings today their first experiential day with us and us with them we must be willing to be a beginner every single morning. As artists and designers, we are always beginning. Any creative work which is not a beginning or a profound realization is a discovery of little use. A moment's beginning can end in a moment. But it is imperative to share the history of the journey because beginnings have a preponderance to find themselves facing the same challenges unless they understand the fundamental corrections made by the predecessors. Don't assume for a moment you know how the Boutique Hotel Movement began. The movement was large it involved both coasts and was nuance-laden.
My mother opened up the Butterfly Boutique at the Thunderbolt Hotel in Burlingame, CA right by the SFO airport. You might remember it for the bloody scenes that were filmed at the property in the Steve McQueen classic film Bullet. Ironically enough my first hotel job as a teen was at the Mark Hopkins Hotel another location for the same movie. Having dabbled a bit, getting my feet wet at some of the best Hotels & opening a retail travel agency, I had the good fortune to meet Charles Mosser. Some called him the slum lord of the Haight, I called him a kind & generous genius with a keen eye to the future. He took a 99-year lease on an old hotel that had been turned into a residence hotel and wanted to make use of the South of Market "Explosion" that was going on as well as have a stage on which to perform his original music. The Mosser Victorian Hotel of Arts & Music was born. His young...hipster-esque son Neveo took the challenge of opening up the hot spot, Keystone Bar & Grill by pilfering the up & coming chef, Paula Lynton from The Billboard Cafe. In true South of Market form, the venue changed themes to "Lights" after 2 am where liquor was served in tea cups to a hand-picked clientele that danced till dawn & graced our little Baghdad by the Bay.
In 1983 I took Charlie to his first ever trade show...the TravelAge West Show in Anaheim, CA. We introduced our pride and joy to the travel community at large and christened it; "San Francisco's South of Market Boutique Hotel...4 blocks from Union Square." Two years later the Marriott made plans to build their San Francisco flagship property across the street.
It's with a mix of nostalgia and pride that I announce HMS has sold its assets and is officially leaving the day-to-day operation and management of our hotel portfolio effective March 2017. The official moniker will remain, but our portfolio of owned and operated properties has been acquired. Our headquarters albeit reduced in staff in Panama City, Florida will continue to be open as will our satellite office in Scottsdale, Arizona.
A moment's beginning ends in a moment.