Karas launches, seeks boutique properties
30 OCTOBER 2015 6:51 AM
The executives behind the newly created Karas Lifestyle Hotels see the new brand focusing on uniquely designed luxury boutique properties.
NEWPORT BEACH, California—Karas Lifestyle Hotels doesn’t have a single property under its flag today, but the minds behind it seem to have things planned through to the day they sell the company.
Launched in conjunction with the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association Leadership Symposium, Karas founders Carlos Lopes and Eric Prevette said they envision Karas growing quickly into a luxury boutique lifestyle brand positioned similar to competitors such as SLS Hotels and Viceroy Hotels and Resorts.
“We really specialize in this very top end of the market when it comes to boutique and lifestyle hotels,” Lopes said.
“What we’ve been good at throughout the years is creating brands in the small luxury sector,” Prevette said. “We understand luxury traveler. We know their needs. We know how to get to them. And we know how to meet their expectations.”
Prevette and Lopes come to Karas from Unique Hotels & Resorts, where both served as managing directors. Unique’s former development projects include The Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, the Grand-Hôtel du Cap Ferrat on the French Riviera, La Posada de Santa Fe in New Mexico and Cap Juluca in Anguilla.
They say their experience developing and managing high-end luxury hotels will allow them to ramp up the new company quickly. Plans call for the company to acquire properties then recast them under the new brand.
“What we’re really looking for is markets that have demand generators that are both commercial and leisure,” Prevette said. “We want a seven-day-a-week operation.”
Prevette and Lopes are joined in the creation of the new brand by Murray Holland, who previously worked as managing director of Dallas investment banking firm MHT Midspan.
The company plans to focus on properties in urban U.S. markets that range between 150 and 300 guestrooms. Development will focus on unique design and guest service, Lopes said.
Prevette said growth is expected to primarily come through conversions as opposed to new builds.
“The whole idea is to go in and buy an older property, and it could also be a property that has a great location coming out of a franchise,” Lopes said. “We have a relationship with a lot of great designers. The situation then is we go in and reinvent the facility from an architectural, design and technology standpoint, because that’s what’s important.”
Prevette said after Karas establishes a portfolio of at least 10 hotels, executives likely will be in the market to sell the brand to a larger company.
“Our goal is to be gobbled up, but not before we’ve developed and branded a sufficient number of hotels,” Prevette said.