We heard recently that The Doyle Collection had hired famed hotelier Joel Freyberg as the general manager of its Washington, D.C. hotel, The Dupont Circle. Freyberg’s resume until now has been all about New York; he’s held executive positions at the Royalton Park Avenue Hotel, The Chatwal Hotel, the Waldorf Towers, The Carlyle and The Mayfair Regent.
Freyberg joins The Dupont Circle as it undergoes a multimillion-dollar makeover, which includes its bar, restaurant, lobby and its Dupont Suite, all set to relaunch this fall. Note: The Doyle Collection currently runs eight hotels in five cities around the world, including The Westbury in Dublin.
We caught up with Freyberg to find out exactly what’s he up to as he embarks on this major project, south of the New York border.
We’ve long known you as a top luxury hotelier in New York, but we hear that you’re moving to Washington, D.C. Can you share what prompted the move?
To be honest, I never in a million years thought that I would relocate outside of N.Y.C. as New York is home for me. I knew that I wanted to make a change in January of this year for a new challenge. There were, of course, several opportunities that came my way from luxury hotels in N.Y.C. to California and even Italy. The Dupont Circle assignment really spoke to me both professionally and creatively. My passion is in renovations, re-branding properties and working with a team to excel in any market. As you know, I created the very first luxury hotel in the heart of Times Square [The Chatwal] — even today, people are talking about all of the touches and details.
When I met with the CEO and Owner / Chairman of The Doyle Collection earlier this year, they truly inspired me. Their dedication and overall commitment to the property matched what I was looking for professionally.
The Dupont Circle has a series of lovely suites.
What are you looking forward to about being in D.C.?
I am really enjoying D.C. It is very European in many ways and I especially love the architecture and history. After all, Dupont Circle was the center of high society in Washington, D.C. and still remains the same today.
Washington has a lot of luxury hotels; how will The Dupont Circle compete? Will you be overseeing the renovation?
Indeed, Washington, D.C. has a lot of great hotels and, of course, they will be friendly competitors, but we have some amazing rooms and suites with terraces overlooking the circle and the neighborhood residents that use the hotel as an extension of their private homes really sets us apart. I am fully immersed in the renovations of the hotel and I am working closely with the owner and chairman, Mrs. Gallagher, to ensure the project’s success.
What’s your favorite part about visiting with luxury travel advisors?
I love speaking with travel professionals and learning from their knowledge. Their wealth of experience and insight into the needs of their clientele always inspires me. Whenever I have a question or need validation of an idea, no matter how small, the luxury community has always been there for me. I even have a few — well many — luxury travel professionals on my speed dial.
The Dupont Circle has a welcoming lobby. It’s set to relaunch this fall, under the leadership of Joel Freyberg.
When you’re not on the road, where are you and what’s your favorite part about being there?
I love my home in Oyster Bay Cove — I love the history of the North Shore, the vast trees, the views of Long Island Sound and the natural serenity. It is truly my sanctuary and my place where I gather inspiration.
Any personal news you’d like to share?
Well, it is so funny, so many people felt that I was not my usual self for a great part of this year. They were so right. My level of inspiration was completely turned off. Now, I am in full swing and, of course, already made a dent in D.C. society. All I can say is watch out Washington, D.C. — New York is in town.