When The Standard Hotels invested a 51% stake in the Austin-based Bunkhouse Group last month, it was as much a meeting of hospitality hearts as it was minds for two of the world’s most attuned hotel brands.
Speaking with Amar Lalvani, managing partner of The Standard Hotels, and Liz Lambert, owner of Bunkhouse Group, it’s clear there’s a mutual admiration for the hotel design and guest experiences that each has developed over the years, above and beyond the success of their business models.
For those not familiar with the Bunkhouse Group, it’s a collection of three boutique hotels in Austin and San Antonio, and a funky vintage trailer/teepee camp in Marfa, Texas. They are the very personification of local and independent hospitality, and they’re a catalyst that helps attract other creative businesses and residents to the area.
The cash infusion from The Standard allows Lambert to grow her Bunkhouse brand more robustly and tap into the innovative digital platforms that Lalvani has developed around mobile bookings like the One Night Standard app.
For The Standard, the partnership offers an opportunity to enter more second tier North American markets that wouldn’t be appropriate for the more global Standard brand, presently operating in New York, Miami and Los Angeles, with London on deck.
The next Bunkhouse property is the Tres Santos Hotel San Cristobal on the southwestern coast of Mexico’s Baja peninsula within the new Tres Santos development. Chip Conley, head of global hospitality for Airbnb, and founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels, is one of the principles in Tres Santos. He says the overall hospitality experience at Tres Santos embraces wellness, well-being and community engagement.
When Lambert was first starting out as a fledgling hotelier following a successful law career, she reached out to Conley for advice, and the two have remained close since.
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