King & Grove Hotels Lose Key Founder But May Partner Up with Jeff Klein
It's been a busy year for King & Grove Hotels, the boutique hotel brand started by former Morgans Hotel Group CEO Ed Scheetz and Ben Pundole, the former Director of Entertainment at Morgans. (You may remember him as the man who brought SPiN Ping Pong to the Mondrian LA.)
King & Grove started out just over a year ago with two boutique properties in the Hamptons before going on to assume management of The Tides South Beach, the Hotel Williamsburg, the Hotel Chelsea and the Hotel Lola as well as plotting out two hotels for downtown Los Angeles. But it looks like all the fast expansion has taken its toll on the brand's foundation--specifically Pundole.
The NY Post reports that Pundole resigned from K&G on Thursday after the promise of ownership and control of the company from Scheetz and K&G's other owner Joseph Chetrit--whose Chetrit Group has bought several of the hotels that K&G is operating--fell through. A source gave the lowdown on the exit to the Post:
Ben has been treated pretty unfairly. Ben created Ruschmeyer’s, which has been a wild success, and was the creator of this new hotel brand. He found and hired most of the employees and even found the Williamsburg, which they purchased on his suggestion, and now he’s walking away with nothing. Chetrit and Scheetz are taking his hard work, contacts and hip following.
Now it looks like Pundole will be going off to work for Ian Schrager, according to the Post source. We wonder if Pundole will be working on the expansion of Schrager's Public Hotels but remember, Schrager still has an idea for a more luxe brand up his sleeve, which might be a perfect fit for the talented and likable Pundole.
Meanwhile, King & Grove are looking to bring on Jeff Klein as an owner. We've long begged for Klein to spread his hotelier wings beyond the City Club Hotel in NYC and the Sunset Tower Hotel and now, partnering up with King & Grove will allow him to do just that. Not quite what we had in mind but it will be interesting to see if Klein can replicate his Sunset Tower magic at other K&G hotels.
We reached out to Pundole this morning but he did not having anything to say nor any news to announce. We're still waiting on an official line from King & Grove and we'll let you know as soon as we do.
Got your own thoughts on the King & Grove shuffle? Put 'em in comments below!