On Location: Valerie Wilson Travel Hosts Morgans Hotel Group

Boston Credit Ultima_Gaina/iStock / Getty Images Plus/ Getty Images
Boston Credit: Ultima_Gaina/iStock / Getty Images Plus/ Getty Images


Dan Flannery, Gary Thomas, Verena Haller, Kimberly Wilson Wetty, Kate Harth, Josh Fluhr, Pauletta Kaufman

It was a gorgeous sunny day in the Valerie Wilson Travel offices on Park Avenue in Manhattan. Luxury Travel Advisor was on the scene at the offices to attend a Morgans Hotel Group panel hosted by Kimberly Wilson Wetty. 

In attendance were Dan Flannery, COO for Morgans; Gary Thomas, General Manger for SoHo Mondrian; Verena Haller, Senior Vice President of Design at Morgans Hotel Group; Kate Harth, Senior Vice President of Sales and Revenue Management at Morgans Hotel Group; Josh Fluhr, Senior Vice President Operations at Morgans Hotel Group; and Pauletta Kaufman, the Global Account Director.

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For those who don't know, Morgans Hotel Group was the brain child of Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell of Studio 54 fame. The idea was to introduce the "first" boutique, lifestyle hotel with a focus on dining, bar scene and socialization space. What emerged was a lifestyle brand focused on flirty fun, nightlife and swank accommodations with a casual-chic flare. 

There are three distinct brands under the Morgans flag. Delano hotels are the most exclusive, showcasing luxury style through clean lines and contrast. The perfect example is Miami's iconic Delano hotel. Mondrians are the more provocative hotels. They emphasize playful parties and electric nightlife. The Hudson hotels are geared more toward Generation Y. They are social, with smaller bedrooms and larger public spaces. 

"Morgans appeals to a more psychographic group than a demographic group," says Flannery. People who enjoy the brands under Morgans Hotel Group have a similar mentality that isn't necessarily dependent on age or location. 

There are 13 properties currently flying a Morgans flag, with 8 in the pipeline, which are expected to open in the next two years. These include hotels in London, Doha, Las Vegas, the Caribbean, Moscow and Turkey. 

Valerie Wilson advisors were most excited about the December 2014 completion of Baha Mar, a $3 billion complex that is expected to breathe new life into Nassau, Bahamas. The complex will be closer to the airport than Atlantis and will have two golf courses and three other hotels in addition to the Morgans property. 

"We are not just about growth," says Harth. "We are about changing a paradigm." In the past, the brand was seen as a place for a great party, but the service left something to be desired. It is Flannery's goal to completely revamp that misconception. Today, all employees of Morgans are required to memorize nine core values which are wrapped up neatly in an aspirational statement. These values focus on detail - which is what most travelers feel sets luxury aside from mass market vacations. 

And if you've ever stayed in a Morgans Hotel, you know they are anything but mass market. 

Never been to a Morgans Hotel? The 13 in the portfolio include: the Ames in Boston; the Sanderson and St Martins Lane in London; the Mondrian in Los Angeles; the Delano Marrakech; the Hudson, Mondrian, Morgans and Royalton in New York; the Clift in San Francisco; and the Delano, Mondrian and Shore Club in South Beach.

For more information visit www.morganshotelgroup.com