“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”
-Albert Camus, Nobel Prize-winning philosopher
April 1, 2020, The Health Crisis that has plagued our planet has reinforced our decision to close our headquarters in Florida that remained open after our portfolio's acquisition. Our former satellite office in Scottsdale, Arizona, will remain and will reopen with an abbreviated staff when the CDC guidelines are adhered to, and a "thumbs-up" is received. Until then, our esteemed & respected team of professional hoteliers will be available via Zoom for training and consultation.
Our Founder Mr. Ruffino retired from the company in 2019 and continues to be a member of the advisory board. His inspiration, guidance & unselfish leadership over the past thirty-five years is the force that made HMS a leader in the hospitality industry since 1985.
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 mornings' wee hours 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 Hoteliers considered their duty to offer such accommodation to fit their guests' needs.
Living through the landscape change of what was & more importantly, what came to pass 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 2 am in glasses but kept dancing till the sun came up. Serving the "approved crowd" spirits in a teacup 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. 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 origins 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 significant; it involved both coasts and was nuance-laden.
My mother opened up the Butterfly Boutique at the Thunderbird Hotel in Burlingame, CA, right by the SFO airport. You might remember it for the final 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. Charlie secured a 99-year lease on an old hotel that had been turned into a residence hotel and wanted to make his mark in the South of Market "Explosion" that was going on and 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 stealing 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 teacups to a hand-picked clientele that danced until dawn & graced our little Baghdad by the Bay. It was in that venue I had the opportunity to meet and develop a long enduring friendship with Bill Kimpton, and we created our own "think tank" with several other up & coming Boutique operators.
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 primarily due to our bold move to move Luxury South of Market for the first time.
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. The official moniker will remain, but our collection of owned and operated properties has been acquired.
A moment's beginning ends in a moment.