NEW YORK—Similar to the iconic author’s novels, a hotel brand centered on the lifestyle of Ernest Hemingway has been a long time in the making.
The idea to build a brand of hotels that would celebrate the unique travel experiences of Hemingway was first born in the early 2000s, and contract negotiations for seven or eight properties were underway before the financial crash that led to years of stalled development.
But Hemingway Hotels & Resorts is back, still led by President Tuckey Devlin but this time stronger capitalized and with key partnerships already in place.
Devlin told HotelNewsNow.com Tuesday the new incarnation of Hemingway Hotels & Resorts was built with a “much more engaged management team,” and plans are to open two to three hotels a year until there are a minimum of 30 hotels worldwide.
“We should have 10 years of gangbuster business in this industry now,” Devlin said. “I’d bet anything on five to seven years, at least.”
Hemingway Hotels & Resorts will be a company-managed brand, similar to Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Devlin said, and both new-construction properties and conversions are already in the works, although the location of the first property isn’t official yet. Trust Hospitality Worldwide will operate the hotels in accordance to a partnership Devlin formed with the boutique hotel operator.
The Hemingway brand will be location-centric, with the goal to develop hotels in regions of the world that played a role in shaping Hemingway’s life, such as Idaho; Key West, Florida; the Bahamas; and eventually Portugal, Spain and Cuba.
“And then there are locations that have the same qualities as those locales. Key West or the Bahamas—you can stretch those concepts throughout the Caribbean,” Devlin said.
Devlin said the company is eyeing a couple of “very–easy-to-reposition” assets in the aforementioned markets and hopes to announce them within a month or two. He is also in negotiations for four to five new-build projects.
Hemingway Hotels & Resorts will be specific to the region and will pay particular attention to service levels, Devlin said. Trust Hospitality will ensure the hotels provide outdoor activities and adventures, he said.
“This is not intended to be a hotel where you just drop your head and get up and go on the next day,” Devlin said.
The facilities will be 4-star and the service will be 5-star, he said. Informed concierges will play a large role and—true to Hemingway’s lifestyle—each hotel will feature “the best damn bar anywhere,” Devlin said.
The style will be elegant but relaxed; quality but not opulent. He intends to require beautiful woods and floor coverings that are mature and elegant.
“The appearance and attributes of the property will be specific to and genuinely unique within its environment,” Devlin said. “It is intended to be the best place Hemingway would have chosen.”
Devlin said he’s had a long-time business relationship with Michael Register, who has signed on as VP of business development for Hemingway Hotels & Resorts and will remain in that position for Trust Hospitality. Register will work with several investment partners to identify and source existing and new-build hotel properties for acquisition or development.
“One of the most important aspects of the brand is delivery, and we recently joined forces with Richard Millard, who is a little bit of an icon in the industry,” Devlin said.
He said potential developers will have “a real vision for delivery of quality adventure tourism.”
“Statistically, adventure and cultural tourism is the fastest-growing segment of tourism,” Devlin said. “And we’ll be well-positioned to take advantage of that.”