Hotelier Jeff Klein 'Freakishly Obsessed' With Hotels
Our 2006 Hotelier of the Year Jeff Klein has begun a guest blogging stint for the NYT mag's "The Moment" blog. As a blogger, he is going to be sharing some of his observations on the hotel world. But in his inaugural post, he dishes on why he got into the hospitality industry in the first place.
Ever since I can remember I have been freakishly obsessed with hotels, much more so than the average hotel geek who concerns himself only with bathroom products, bed linen thread count and front-desk service.
Then he recounts how this obsession got him slapped by his mother at age 15 in Rome when he preferred to check out the Hassler hotel than take a private tour of the Vatican's art collection. Ouch!
That's probably the most interesting bit in this blog post. Klein also talks about how he got into the industry (starting as a bellman!) and the troubles he had in opening City Club in the months after 9/11 (thisclose to bankruptcy), as well as how Sunset Tower has become his proudest achievement ("excellence without pretense".)
But what we loved about Klein back in 2006 is that he's not expansion crazy. Just the opposite in fact. He says:
I would rather have fewer hotels that are consistent with who I am and what my customer wants than compromise the freakish obsession that got me slapped on that trip to Rome when I was 15.
We applaud this but we are wondering--being the greedy hotel geeks that we are--maybe he could open just one more hotel soon?
Also when it comes to a hotel's nightlife, Klein's not going to be violating any drinking age laws soon:
I don't want 100 kids drinking $16 cosmos; I am my customer, and like me, my customer is an adult and wants an adult experience.
[Photo via NY Times]